This chapter presents our theoretical approach to cosmetic surgery and its
discourses. We argue that cosmetic surgery tourists are seeking value, and
that for many of those we spoke with, their bodies were the only asset it
was possible for them to invest in. We argue that existing feminist theories
of cosmetic surgery fail to account for material, fleshy bodies that change
over time. Whilst most cosmetic surgery theories point to an external
(‘perfect’) body of popular culture to which the cultural dopes of cosmetic
surgery are subject, we point instead to instances of melancholy for a lost
body, when comparisons are more often with one’s own body as it used to be
than with ‘image culture’. Images do however provide guides and possible
styles: when one wants to change one’s body, one has to illustrate how. So,
while we do not see cosmetic surgery as totally outside any regime of
images, we argue that images have a more complex and nuanced role than
cosmetic surgery discourse allows. The chapter includes a discussion of the
PIP scandal as a way to interrogate the workings of this discourse.
This chapter critically evaluates characterisations of the EDL as ‘Islamophobic’. It outlines debates about how we might define and measure ‘Islamophobia’, focusing on the question of whether Islamophobia is a new, and distinct, phenomenon or consists primarily in anti-Muslim attitudes, which are adequately understood within the existing notion of cultural racism. It provides a detailed exploration of the nature and content of perceptions of, and attitudes towards, Islam among EDL activists and shows how Islam is singled out as a ‘problem’ in a way that other aspects of multicultural society are not. In order to sustain claims to non-racism, therefore, a strategic distinction between Islam and Muslims is drawn; the object of hostility, it is claimed, is Islamic doctrine or teachings not its followers as individuals or racialised groups. However, being anti-Islam does not exclude being anti-Muslim also. Drawing on observational evidence as well as interviews, the chapter demonstrates considerable slippage in distinctions between Islam and Muslims as the object of hostility as well as, especially in the context of demonstrations, the use of generalised terms of abuse towards Muslims.
This chapter discusses the emotional and affective dimensions of EDL activism by exploring the pleasures of the ‘demo buzz’ and the ontological security generated by relationships formed in the EDL ‘family’. It outlines theoretical debates on emotion and affect in social movements and adopts the notion of ‘affective practice’ to understand and explore the role of emotion in EDL activism. It shows how street demonstrations are experienced by respondents as not only a place for achievement of the rational goal of ‘getting your message across’ but also, emotionally, as ‘a good day out’ with its associated pleasures (including, for some, violence and ‘disorder’). The forms and means by which the emotional collective is formed within the EDL (the use of symbols, colours, chanting and other performative acts) is discussed and arguments that these emotions are instrumentally orchestrated from above are refuted. Finally, the chapter considers the ‘reciprocal emotions’ - close, affective ties of friendship, love, solidarity, and loyalty - generated within social movements. These emotions – expressed through respondents’ understanding of the EDL as ‘one big family’ - arise out of, and enhance, the pleasures of shared activism but can work to undermine as well as strengthen group bonds.