• Facial Difference, Consumer Culture and Being “Normal”

      Peacock, Rose; Sargeant, Anita R.; Small, Neil A. (2016)
      The face is not the property of an individual; it is a key part of our communicating body. It is performed, in social interaction (Goffman, 1982) and seen and responded to within historicised and gendered ideals of the normal and of beauty. The normal and the beautiful have a particular resonance in a visually mediated consumer society, “looks matter”. But more than half-a million people in the UK have a significant disfigurement to their face (Changing Faces, 2007). This chapter explores the way facial difference illuminates debates on bodily representation. It explores how people living with visible facial difference invoke discursive formations of disfigurement (Garland-Thomson, 2009). It asks how we encounter and respond to facial difference and examines how close personal relationships can offer a source of support. The chapter contextualises the relevance of the face for communication and then examines implications for social selves in personal communities. Seventeen people living with visible facial difference were interviewed as part of a PhD study and interview extracts illuminate different aspects of the aesthetics of inclusion.