The Power of Looks: Social Stratification of Physical Appearance

The Power of Looks: Social Stratification of Physical Appearance

by Bonnie Berry

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The Power of Looks: Social Stratification of Physical Appearance by Bonnie Berry

There is a saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, implying that beauty is subjective. But can it be said that 'better looking' people have more social power? This book provides a fascinating insight into the social stratification of people based on looks - the artificial placement of people into greater and lesser power strata based on physical appearance. The author analyzes different aspects of physical appearance such as faces, breasts, eye shapes, height and weight as they are related to social power and inequality. For example, tall people are often associated with power, with tall people being seen publicly as more capable and thus more deserving of power than shorter people. The author moreover assesses how people's physical appearance affects their chances of marriage, employment, education, and other social and economic opportunities. The book contributes to and differentiates itself from current literature by emphasizing sociological theory - including constructionism and critical theory - and research to understand the phenomenon of social aesthetics, a term coined by the author to refer to the social reaction to physical appearance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781317019565
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 02/24/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 154
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Bonnie Berry is director of the Social Problems Research Group in Seattle, Washington and is engaged in research on a number of sociological topics including social inequality, social movements, animal rights, and terrorism. She is the recipient of the 2008 Herbert Bloch Award for distinguished service to the discipline of criminology and to the American Society of Criminology.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgements ix

1 Introduction 1

2 A Brief History of Social Aesthetics 17

3 Two Types of Appearance Power: Economic and Social Networks 23

4 Minority Statuses, Inequality, and Social Aesthetics 33

5 Alterations: Making Our Appearance More Suitable 51

6 The Media, the Economy, Globalization, and Other Forces Associated with Social Aesthetics 65

7 Methodologies: The Means to Understand Social Aesthetics 75

8 Theories: Explanations of Social Aesthetics 83

9 Animal Aesthetics: An Illustration of Symbolic Interactionism 99

10 Transforming Social Aesthetics: Accommodation and Rebellion 109

11 Conclusions 119

Appendix: Field Notes from Seattle Street Laborers' Interviews 127

Bibliography 131

Index 141

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