The Politics of Beauty: Discourses and Intersections in the Global Sphere

Summer School and International Conference

This summer school and international conference aim to engage with the politics of beauty and their ramifications. Since the 1970s social movements have been stimulating a wealth of studies on beauty as a racist, classist, ableist, colorist, lookist, sizeist, ageist, and (cis and hetero)sexist regime of representation. Recent research has focused on beauty as a practice or rather as incessant “body work” in neoliberal times – working out, body-building, make-overs, cosmetic surgery, shopping, dieting, etc. –, and its oppressive, discriminatory effects.

Despite this invaluable work in describing and analysing such practices, some pertinent questions remain opaque and understudied. How does beauty culture (re)produce and/or stand in tension to discourses of gender, class, race, ethnicity, skin colour, and colonialism? How is beauty productive? What does it produce? What are people’s affective, social, economic, and global investments in beauty? Why does the desire to prescribe beauty standards persist? How to analytically grasp the pleasure of doing body work? What different media strategies are used to programmatically present, transmit and disperse beauty concepts? Crucially, what is beauty doing in helping us understand lived experience and temporalities, language and representation, media images, and physicality? In other words, how to grasp the politics of beauty as forming intersectional selves, corporations, nations and global discourses?

Click here for the The Politics of Beauty conference website.  More details can also be found in the University's research news.

Summer School

  • Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 – Friday, September 2nd, 2016

International Conference

  • Friday, September 2nd, 2016 – Saturday, September 3rd, 2016


  • Summer School: Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RQ and Downing College, University of Cambridge, Regent Street, Cambridge, CB2 1DQ
  • International Conference: Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, 1 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2

More details can be found on the Politics of Beauty conference website.

This Summer School and Conference are made possible by the generous support of the Swiss Center for Social Research, the Centre of Latin American Studies, the Centre for Gender Studies, Downing College and the Department of Sociology of the University of Cambridge.

Image credit: © Ng’endo Mukii