Power and exploitation within the cosmetics industry

This ongoing project explores themes of power and exploitation within the cosmetics industry. It draws upon ethnographic research undertaken by Dr David Hollis in a UK cosmetics company.

Make up brushes and a palette.

Project overview

The project explores how routines, norms and discourses that centre around ‘beauty’ exploit workers whose labour is typically undervalued and underpaid. Access to makeup artists’ daily work allows for insights into how seemingly mundane and innocuous practices, such as ‘making up’ the face and makeup techniques, can extract surplus value from workers’ bodies, subjectivities, and pay.

Key research outputs

Hollis, D., Wright, A., Smolović Jones, O. & Smolović Jones, N (2021) ‘From ‘pretty’ to ‘pretty powerful’: The communicatively constituted power of facial beauty’s performativity’. Organization Studies, 42(12): 1885-1907.

Key research activity

Hollis, D., Wright, A., Smolović Jones, O. & Smolović Jones, N (2021). ‘From “pretty to pretty powerful:” Facial beauty’s performative power’. Nominated for Responsible Research Award at The Academy of Management Annual Meeting (Organization and Management Theory division)

Hollis, D (2022). ‘Methodological and Theoretical Learnings about how Identities Materialize’. Invited presentation at University of Twente.


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