We are very happy that we will be able to present our abstract on Everyday Cyborgs: Men with implanted/transplanted hair (and its Eigensinn) (see below) in the panel #174 Techniques of Resilience. Coping with the Vulnerabilities of Hybrid Bodies by Nelly Oudshoorn during the virtual meeting of EASST/4S Prague 2020 “Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and Agency of STS in Emerging Worlds” (Aug 18-21). We are excited to discuss our project Cartography of Hair:y_less Masculinities. A Comparison between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Turkey to a certain extent with approaches to understand the techniques of resilience as an important component of conceptualizing vulnerabilities and part of the cyborg theory.
In recent years techno-medical reconfigurations of men’s bodies, an example to which are interventions in balding due to aging (Syzmczak and Conrad 2006), has medicalized men’s bodies and thus masculinities A reason for this is that cosmetic surgery has become not only more accessible (Edmonds 2009) but also more popular among men with hair transplantations/implantations being one of the most chosen cosmetic surgical procedures by men (American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2019).
Extending the focus on ‘body companion technology’ from the concrete technologies implanted into/on the body/ies, towards including emerging biotechnical entities, such as (synthetic) hair and its implantation/transplantation processes, this research focuses on men’s bodies and their materialization as ‘everyday cyborgs’ through hair implantation/transplantation procedures. Concentrating on men undergoing such procedures in clinics in Turkey and Iran, we argue that these procedures could be regarded as empowerment of vulnerable subjects for they enable self-actualization. As these procedures are embedded in a web of biopolitical currents (i.e. economy, professional settings, etc.), consolidation of gender differences through the reproduction of a particular type of masculinity could be underway.
Considering the self-will (Eigensinn) of the bios, and thus hair, our complementary to the body companion technology concept helps to see hair as biotechnical entity, with the agency to reject its new territory, requiring ongoing care on part of the patient’s body. Thus, this research conceptualizes the techno-medical (re)locations of hair in men’s bodies within a “socio-bio-technical framework” (Şahinol 2016) and scrutinizes how and the ways in which these ‘everyday cyborg’ bodies deal with emergent vulnerabilities.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2019. 2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report.
Edmonds, Alexander. 2009. “Learning to love yourself: esthetics, health, and therapeutics in Brazilian plastic surgery.” Ethnos 74 (4):465-489.
Şahinol, Melike. 2016. Das techno-zerebrale Subjekt: Zur Symbiose von Mensch und Maschine in den Neurowissenschaften, Technik – Körper – Gesellschaft. Bielefeld: transcript.
Syzmczak, Julia E., and Peter Conrad. 2006. “Medicalizing the Aging Male Body: Andropause and Baldness.” In Medicalized Masculinities, edited by Dana Rosenfeld and Christopher A. Faircloth. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
hair:y_less masculinities is a sub-project of “Iran and Beyond – Breaking the Ground for Sustainable Scholarly Collaboration (IRSSC)”. It is led by one of the Co-PIs of the IRSSC project, Dr. Melike Şahinol, who is Senior Research Fellow and head of research field “Human, Medicine and Society” at the Orient-Institut Istanbul.
Burak Taşdizen is Research Associate in the research field “Human, Medicine and Society” within hair:y_less masculinities and coordinator of IRSSC.
“Hair:y_less Masculinities” is part of Max Weber Foundation’s Knowledge Unbound, and is funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).