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Ruth Holliday
,
Meredith Jones
, and
David Bell

Locating cosmetic surgery tourism 63 3 Locating cosmetic surgery tourism It’s been quite helpful to see other girls who are going and who are there and seeing photos of them over there, seeing photos of them post-op. You see the whole journey and it’s really personal … Some have been having a bad time, they’ve been in more pain than they expected, whereas some of them are out on the back of elephants, so it’s good to see how everybody is different … and one girl got, like, an infection, you know. So, it’s not showing only the good side of the story. I hope

in Beautyscapes
Caregiving companions and medical travel facilitators
Ruth Holliday
,
Meredith Jones
, and
David Bell

86 Beautyscapes: mapping cosmetic surgery tourism 4 The work of cosmetic surgery tourism I: caregiving companions and medical travel facilitators Our aim in the next two chapters is to outline the various forms of work or labour that are brought together to make cosmetic surgery happen.1 Through this focus on work we aim to provide a detailed overview of the cosmetic surgery tourism industry, focusing on the key actors whose work is central to the production of cosmetic surgery tourism. In this chapter we look closely at two key groups, one providing unpaid

in Beautyscapes
Ruth Holliday
,
Meredith Jones
, and
David Bell

144 Beautyscapes: mapping cosmetic surgery tourism 7 Decentring and disorienting cosmetic surgery tourism While medical tourism historically has meant wealthy travellers leaving the Global South to seek treatment in the Global North, in the last few decades the direction of patient flows has changed. In academic work, medical tourism has commonly come to be conceptualised in terms of colonialism and orientalism: wealthy westerners exploiting low-wage economies in developing countries and experiencing them through a patronising ‘orientalist gaze’ – not liking

in Beautyscapes
Health workers and patients
Ruth Holliday
,
Meredith Jones
, and
David Bell

108 Beautyscapes: mapping cosmetic surgery tourism 5 The work of cosmetic surgery tourism II: health workers and patients The previous chapter provided an overview of the structure of the cosmetic surgery tourism industry as a prelude to a detailed exploration of the forms of work undertaken by some of the key actors in the cosmetic surgery tourism assemblage. Basing our discussion in sociological debates about ‘new’ forms of work or labour – care work, body work, emotional labour and aesthetic labour – we showed how informal caregiving companions and MTFs

in Beautyscapes
Abstract only
Mapping cosmetic surgery tourism

Beautyscapes explores the rapidly developing global phenomenon of international medical travel, focusing specifically on patient-consumers seeking cosmetic surgery outside their home country and on those who enable them to access treatment abroad, including key figures such as surgeons and facilitators. Documenting the complex and sometimes fraught journeys of those who travel for treatment abroad, as well as the nature and power relations of the transnational IMT industry, this is the first book to focus specifically on cosmetic surgery tourism. A rich and theoretically sophisticated ethnography, Beautyscapes draws on key themes in studies of globalisation and mobility, such as gender and class, neoliberalism, social media, assemblage, conviviality and care, to explain the nature and growing popularity of cosmetic surgery tourism. The book challenges myths about vain and ill-informed travellers seeking surgery from ‘cowboy’ foreign doctors, yet also demonstrates the difficulties and dilemmas that medical tourists – especially cosmetic surgery tourists – face. Vividly illustrated with ethnographic material and with the voices of those directly involved in cosmetic surgery tourism, Beautyscapes is based on a large research project exploring cosmetic surgery journeys from Australia and China to East Asia and from the UK to Europe and North Africa.

Ruth Holliday
,
Meredith Jones
, and
David Bell

group is crucial to a positive cosmetic surgery tourism experience. Once such group we spoke with had travelled from Australia to Thailand for breast augmentations and referred to themselves as the ‘Boobie Sisters’ to reflect the intense bond they felt for each other. If, as Margaret Gibson (2006: 53) suggests, ‘as a category of identification and classification, the cosmetically altered body is now a type of social body’, then these tourists embody a distinct form of sociality that arises from and in fact constitutes cosmetic surgery tourism. As explained in chapter

in Beautyscapes
Abstract only
Researching cosmetic surgery tourism
Ruth Holliday
,
Meredith Jones
, and
David Bell

Clinical trails 1 1 Clinical trails: researching cosmetic surgery tourism When we began the research project on which this book is based, we were all too aware of the criticisms of international medical travel (IMT) and of cosmetic surgery. In the mainstream media IMT is largely represented as personally and socially selfish and reckless, especially when it involves cosmetic procedures. The stereotype is one of patients travelling abroad for procedures on the cheap, carried out by unqualified ‘cowboy’ medics who make big profits based on the promise of

in Beautyscapes
Abstract only
Ruth Holliday
,
Meredith Jones
, and
David Bell

Conclusions 179 9 Conclusions This book has mobilised the often intimate and intricate stories of individual travellers and workers in the cosmetic surgery tourism industry, alongside aggregate data, to illustrate the complex and uneven phenomenon that is cosmetic surgery tourism. Along the way we hope we have robustly dispelled some of the more common stereotypes of rich, vain women or duped young women travelling on a whim without knowledge of or preparation for surgeries in countries with cowboy surgeons and substandard healthcare. Instead, we have

in Beautyscapes
Ruth Holliday
,
Meredith Jones
, and
David Bell

160 Beautyscapes: mapping cosmetic surgery tourism 8 Cosmetic convivialities and cosmopolitan beginnings In March 2012 we accompanied three women travelling as part of a package arranged for them by a cosmetic surgery tourism facilitator/agent to Tunisia for a variety of procedures. Lorna, who was 27 and from Scotland, worked on a North Sea oil rig and travelled for a breast augmentation and liposuction; 45-year-old Anita, the owner of an up-market hair salon in the south of England, was having a facelift; and Sally, aged 52, was having breast implants

in Beautyscapes
Ruth Holliday
,
Meredith Jones
, and
David Bell

Cosmetic investments 31 2 Cosmetic investments Cosmetic surgery tourism is part IMT and part cosmetic surgery, and each of these elements evokes considerable anxiety and debate in both the media and in some academic accounts. In this chapter we elaborate our position on cosmetic surgery as well as introducing our patient-consumers and their motives for travelling abroad for treatment. Our intention is to frame cosmetic surgery through attention to the narratives our participants shared with us, drawing together their discussions and experiences to challenge

in Beautyscapes