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From the Kitchen to the ParlorLanguage and Becoming in African American Women's Hair Care$
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Lanita Jacobs-Huey

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195304169

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304169.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2021

“We Are Like Doctors”

“We Are Like Doctors”

Socializing Cosmetologists into the Discourse of Science

(p.29) 2 “We Are Like Doctors”
From the Kitchen to the Parlor

Lanita Jacobs-Huey (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents findings from observations of hair educational seminars and hair shows in cities throughout the United States and in London, England. In these places, hair stylists were intensely aware of their clients' lay hair-care expertise. Notably, across all of the black hair-care communities observed, stylists framed their work and professional identity as analogous to that of medical doctors. Given the risks associated with the considerable hair-care knowledge and experience of African American women, stylists' constructions of themselves as doctors constitute attempts to minimize the relevance of clients' lay knowledge and thus to resolve the challenges posed by clients' lay hair expertise. At a communal level, the positioning of themselves as doctors and of professional hair care as science serves to legitimize cosmetology as a science-based industry on par with the medical profession. This is another instance wherein language is employed by black women (and men) to construct provisional stances of authority and relations of power with clients and other hair-care practitioners.

Keywords:   cosmetologists, discourse of science, hair shows, hair stylists, hair-care

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