Agency and the dominant face: Facial transplantation and the discourse of normalcy

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Abstract

Drawing upon Disability Studies and the work of James Elkins, this article offers an analysis of the discourse surrounding the groundbreaking, first partial face transplant in 2005. By critiquing the normative gaze imposed by medical, popular and ethical arguments on face transplantation, it is argued that such hegemonic discourse ultimately undermines the same agency it purports to be its main motivation. The article ends with an example of an alternative engagement with facial disfigurement and thus a challenge to facilitate individual agency in our discourse of diverse embodiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Communication Journal
Volume12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

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