Surgery Junkies: Wellness and Pathology in Cosmetic Culture

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Rutgers University Press, Apr 25, 2007 - Social Science - 224 pages
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"Surgery Junkies is an innovative, fast-paced mix of theory and empirical research that advances our understanding of contemporary bodies, lifestyle medicine, and the making of the embodied, self-fashioned self. Scholars and teachers of cultural and media studies, sociology of the body, and health and society will value its contributions to both their research and their teaching."-Arthur W. Frank, author of The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics and The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine, and How to Live "Whether analyzing Extreme Makeover, 'Body Dismorphic Disorder,' or her own rhinoplasty, Pitts-Taylor makes difficult theoretical concepts clear-and clearly relevant to our lives."-Susan Bordo, author of Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body Despite the increasing prevalence of cosmetic surgery, there are still those who identify individuals who opt for bodily modifications as dupes of beauty culture, as being in conflict with feminist ideals, or as having some form of psychological weakness. In this ground-breaking book, Victoria Pitts-Taylor examines why we consider some cosmetic surgeries to be acceptable or even beneficial and others to be unacceptable and possibly harmful. Drawing on years of research, in-depth interviews with surgeons and psychiatrists, analysis of newspaper articles, legal documents, and television shows, and her own personal experience with cosmetic surgery, Pitts-Taylor brings new perspectives to the promotion of "extreme" makeovers on television, the medicalization of "surgery addiction," the moral and political interrogation that many patients face, and feminist debates on the topic. Pitts-Taylor makes a compelling argument that the experience, meanings, and motivations for cosmetic surgery are highly social and, in doing so, provides a much needed "makeover" of our cultural understanding of cosmetic surgery. Victoria Pitts-Taylor is associate professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Visible Pathology and Cosmetic Wellness
16
Normal Extremes Cosmetic Surgery Television
39
Miss World Ms Ugly Feminist Debates
73
The Medicalization of Surgery Addiction
100
The Surgery Junkie as Legal Subject
128
The Self and the Limits of Interiority
158
Notes
187
Bibliography
195
Index
201
About the Author
205
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

VICTORIA PITTS-TAYLOR is Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. She specializes in social theory and sociology of the body and is the author of Surgery Junkies: Wellness and Pathology in Cosmetic Surgery (2007) and In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification (2003).

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