The salon as clinic: problematising, treating, and caring for skin

Elizabeth R. Straughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper I draw upon Foucault's concept of the clinic, as well as his later work on the 'care of the self', in a consideration of the problems that are diagnosed, and the treatments that take place, within the beauty salon. As biotechnology descends to the sub-molecular level, so those spaces that are linked to the laboratory through the diffusion of knowledges, practices and material productssuch as the salonare also reworked. Traditionally the locus for an array of experts in both body and mind who instruct (mostly) women on how to care for the self, salons use a series of 'cutting edge' treatments to pamper and groom the body, correcting as it does so various problem areas such as the skin. I argue, using interview material from salon managers and employees, for the beauty salon as a key site wherein health and medical knowledge is disseminated, and the clinical gaze is brought to bear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-661
Number of pages15
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2011


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