Skin Health: New Biocultural Zones of Contact

Name of applicant

Astrid Pernille Jespersen




University of Copenhagen


DKK 9,864,527



Type of grant

Semper Ardens: Accomplish


Asking people to list the bodily organs, they often mention the skin last, if at all. This is indicative of a tendency to overlook the skin although it is our largest organ, a key player in health, and a vital part of our cultural, social, and political fabric. This project explores current skin health practices between everyday life, medical knowledge, industrial interests and aesthetic norms.


A damaged or ill skin can produce serious social stigma and personal trauma and activate mechanisms of exclusion. Engaging with these issues, we will advance a more nuanced understanding of skin health focusing on the crucial relations between scientific, commercial and everyday skin practices


We will investigate skin health and skin care practices by means of historical analysis and ethnographic fieldwork, and we will explore the prevailing discourses, medical, technological and everyday practices that define our cultural understanding and engagement with skin health.

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