21th and 22th of May, 2021

Beauty & Inequality Workshop

Leuven, KU Leuven
Scholars from various disciplines have argued that appearance is increasingly important in contemporary societies, for a range of reasons, such as the growing importance of service work, mediatization, consumer culture or the rise of opportunities to change one’s appearance, for instance through cosmetic surgery. As beauty is becoming more important, it is more likely to become a form of capital — a resource that can be accumulated, exploited or exchanged – and  a source of inequality. However, sociology, the discipline that is most centrally concerned with the analysis of social inequalities, has been remarkably silent about appearance and beauty. Indeed, sociological work on beauty is far and few between; scattered across various subdisciplines (gender, cultural and economic sociology, sociology of stratification) and therefore using different concepts, frameworks and methods. This workshop aims to bring these approaches together, to collectively explore how appearance affects inequality, and vice versa.