The face is an ordinary object hiding a profound complexity. We experience face-to-face encounters every day. Our immediate environment is full of smiley, needy, beautiful, and dangerous faces. The ubiquity of the phenomenon does not make it less fascinating. In Face Politics, Jenny Edkins, coming from the field of international politics—and with previous publications concerning missing persons, trauma, and more recently, landscapes of detention—explores what a face is and how it relates to a certain political regime. From portraiture to biometric technology, the face is linked to the contemporary concept of the individual. As a consequence, the face stands in Western contemporary politics as a dense surface where meanings of the self are located. This kind of politics, which Edkins denounces, produces the person as a fixed and knowable object “available to the gaze of a bureaucracy, an administration” (7). However, we can...
Review Article|November 01 2016
Facelessness: A Relational Politics
Cultural Politics (2016) 12 (3): 391-393.