In this short essay I focus on two ethnographic scenes from the operating room in order to show the OR as a place both assiduously sterile and deeply intimate. In the process of these Facial Feminization Surgery procedures, surgeons and other OR staff reflect on the social changes that the surgery may (or may not) enable even while they are working to enact physical changes in the faces of their patients.
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The research on which this essay is based was made possible by funding from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the UC Berkeley Center for the Study of Sexual Cultures.
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Hirschauer, Stefan. 1991. “The Manufacture of Bodies in Surgery.” Social Studies of Science 21:279–319.
Katz, Pearl. 1981. “Ritual in the Operating Room.” Ethnology 20(4): 335–350.
Young, Katharine. 1997. Presence in the Flesh: The Body in Medicine. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.