Professor Maxine Craig Publishes Article in Citizenship Studies

Professor Maxine Craig's article "Perfect smiles, aesthetic citizenship, and the U.S. State" traces the development of the social expectation in the United States for perfected smiles, produced through orthodontic treatment, and discusses its implication for two dimensions of citizenship: rights and sense of belonging. Belonging is facilitated by normative embodiment. In the contemporary United States, an irregular smile is a mark of alterity, indicating poverty, parental neglect, or foreign birth. Decades of health care policy shaped by neoliberal ideology that limited the supply of medical personnel, thwarted efforts to develop universally available state-subsidized medical care and supported private medical insurance as the primary solution to medical need, contributed to the establishment of a dental system oriented toward the production of profit. Profit-oriented dentistry made the perfect smile emblematic of the American middle class and intensified the social and economic exclusion of people with irregular smiles. Read the full article in Citizenship Studies 2024.