Ruth Holliday
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Decentring and disorienting cosmetic surgery tourism
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This chapter challenges some of the dominant framings of international medical travel through a discussion of the shifting geographies that have reshaped patient flows, redefined centres of excellence and expertise, and redrawn the world map of medical tourism. We show how cosmetic surgery tourism has ‘decentred’ previous models of medical travel, drawing on previous discussions of South–South, cross-border and regional patient movements. We explore how our empirical work and its theorising helps us in decolonising and disorienting understandings of how cosmetic surgery tourism is assembled geographically – where geography is as much imagined as it is a material reality. Using insights from fieldwork in South Korea, Thailand and Tunisia, we counter the dominant view of footloose global elites gliding seamlessly around the world in search of transformation. Our patient journeys were very different, often leading to disorientation.

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Mapping cosmetic surgery tourism

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