Globalisation of beauty workshop

University of Birmingham
Arts and Law, Lectures Talks and Workshops
14 - 15/10/2015

This workshop focuses on whether a global dominant beauty norm is emerging; one with less cultural variation and less sites of resistance. Some practices suggest this is the case: the increasing popularity of the 'Asian eye lift' (sometimes claimed to be required for employment); the wish for 'golden skin' (shown by the popularity of skin lightening/tanning creams and procedures); and the increasingly global preference for 'thinness' (emerging in countries such as India and Nigeria, where 'ideals' have significantly altered). The implications for regulation of such a norm are considered, as a global norm might suggest global regulation, but there are notable tensions here. Within the EU there is the tension between concern to facilitate the free movement of goods and persons and the wish to maximise public health and use the precautionary principle to manage risk. Globally there is often a notable disparity between the rhetoric of safety and responsible practice and the drive to develop new markets.


14th October

  • Coffee from 9.30
  • 9.45-10.00 Introduction
  • 10.00-11.00 Alexander Edmonds ‘The globalisation of plastic surgery’
  • 11.00-11.45 ECR Session:
    • Francesca Minerva ‘A new approach to human beauty at the intersection of evolutionary and cultural influences’
    • Tracey Elliott ‘Travelling abroad to achieve the perfect smile: a risk worth taking?’
  • 11.45-12.00 Coffee
  • 12.00-1.00 Danielle Griffiths and Alexandra Mullock, ‘Cosmetic surgery tourism: Risks and regulation in a global beauty market’
  • 1.00-13.45 Lunch
  • 13.45-14.45 Viren Swami, ‘Are we all thin enough yet? The globalisation of the thin ideal and the homogenisation of beauty’
  • 14.45- 15.45 Andrew Edgar, 'Professional sport and the marketing of body image'
  • 15.45-16.45 Coffee
  • 16.00-17.00 Jeanette Edwards,  ‘Beauty as an ethical project’ 

15th October

  • 9.00-10.00 Shirley Anne Tate, ‘The performativity of black beauty shame in Jamaica and its diaspora’
  • 10.00-11.00 Graduate session:
    • Adina Covaci ‘The globalisation of beauty as unethical propaganda’
    • Alice el-Wakil ‘The ‘look your best’ argument: physical appearance, individual accountability, and social (in)justice
  • 11.00-11.15 Coffee
  • 11.15-12.15 Rosalind Gill, ‘Aesthetic Entrepreneurship: the politics of beauty in postfeminist and neoliberal times’
  • 12.15-12.45 Nuffield council and working party
  • 12.45-13.00 discussion and close
  • 13.00-14.00 Lunch

Join the network

We would like to encourage anyone interested in this area to join the BeautyDemands network. Our aim is to promote cross-disciplinary academic engagement in public and policy debate on topical beauty issues. We do this by hosting four workshops, but also by promoting virtual discussion via Twitter (@beautydemands, #beautydemands) and the BeautyDemands blog. To express your interest in joining the network and writing a blog, please contact Jan Kandiyali at