The work of cosmetic surgery tourism I

Caregiving companions and medical travel facilitators

in Beautyscapes
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This chapter begins an exploration of the forms of work or labour that are brought together to make cosmetic surgery tourism happen. The analysis is framed by discussions in the sociology of work about care work, body work, emotional labour and aesthetic labour. The chapter opens with an overview of the cosmetic surgery tourism industry to provide context for the analysis of forms of work. The remainder of the chapter focuses on forms of work undertaken by those who travel with cosmetic surgery tourists and the various intermediaries who work to facilitate surgical journeys. In the former category we show how informal caregivers who travel with patients perform a vital function in enabling and supporting those travelling for surgery. In the case of intermediaries, facilitators and coordinators, we explore how this novel set of roles has emerged as a new business sector with increasing heterogeneity and complexity. We provide a typology of medical travel facilitators (MTFs), drawing on our ethnographic material to show who these workers are and the forms of work they perform. We show that MTFs occupy a central but contested position in the cosmetic surgery tourism assemblage.

Beautyscapes

Mapping cosmetic surgery tourism

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