Ruth Holliday
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Cosmetic convivialities and cosmopolitan beginnings
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This chapter explores how some of the patients we spoke with experienced the places they found themselves in as they travelled for surgery. We provide a detailed account of a trip we took to Tunisia with a group of British women, and then work to unpack this encounter by drawing on work discussing cosmopolitanism and conviviality. The ways the women worked understand both their own journeys and those of the other people they met in Tunisia can be usefully interrogated by thinking about conviviality. In their meetings with each other, with medical staff and crucially with patients being treated for injuries sustained in the civil war in Libya following the Arab Spring uprisings, these patients experienced both a global geopolitical reality that they were unaware of, and moments of empathy, vulnerability and generosity that were as transformative as the surgeries they came to Tunisia to access. Such encounters can be read as producing cosmopolitan beginnings – shifts in worldview that emerge as unintended effects of the surgical journeys this group of women embarked upon.

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Mapping cosmetic surgery tourism

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