Consuming Skin: dermographies of Female Subjection and Abjection

Jane Kenway, Elizabeth Ann Bullen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Benthien (2002) talks of “the semantics of the skin” and says it involves “a great many strategies of interpretation and staging” (p. xi). She identifies four main cultural interpretations of skin that have existed over time. We begin by outlining these as they are crucial to an understanding of the many ways skin has been commodified. One view, that has both lost favor and been reinvented, is that the skin is “the mirror of the soul, " reflecting psychological, cognitive, and emotional facets of the individual. A second, unpopular, perspective is that skin and the self are irrevocably one and the same-skin is identity and destiny. More common perspectives are, thirdly, that the skin is “the place where identity is formed and assigned” (p. 1); it is a surface for projecting the self and for designating others. Finally, “the skin is the place where boundary negations take place” (p. viii) between self and others. In this view, the skin is a site of contestation over identity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCritical Pedagogies of Consumption
    Subtitle of host publicationLiving and Learning in the Shadow of the “Shopocalypse”
    EditorsJennifer A Sandlin, Peter McLaren
    Place of PublicationNew York
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)9781135237110
    ISBN (Print)9780415997898
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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