The Biopolitics of Beauty: Cosmetic Citizenship and Affective Capital in Brazil
The Biopolitics of Beauty examines how beauty became an aim of national health in Brazil. Using ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Brazilian hospitals, the author shows how plastic surgeons and patients navigate the public health system to transform beauty into a basic health right. The book historically traces the national concern with beauty to Brazilian eugenics, which established beauty as an index of the nation’s racial improvement. From here, Jarrín explains how plastic surgeons became the main proponents of a raciology of beauty, using it to gain the backing of the Brazilian state. Beauty can be understood as an immaterial form of value that Jarrín calls “affective capital,” which maps onto and intensifies the social hierarchies of Brazilian society. Patients experience beauty as central to national belonging and to gendered aspirations of upward mobility, and they become entangled in biopolitical rationalities that complicate their ability to consent to the risks of surgery. The Biopolitics of Beauty explores not only the biopolitical regime that made beauty a desirable national project, but also the subtle ways in which beauty is laden with affective value within everyday social practices—thus becoming the terrain upon which race, class, and gender hierarchies are reproduced and contested in Brazil.
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aesthetic hierarchy aesthetic surgeries affective capital anthropometry aparência argues associated beauty become Beleza Belo Horizonte bioplasty biopolitical biopower bodily body Brazilian Brazilian society breast Carlos claim clinical considered contest cosmetic critique cultural described desire despite doctors economic embodied eugenic evaluation example favelas female femininity forms of affect Freyre gender gery girls Gisele Bündchen Globo hair hope imagined interviewed Irajá Ivo Pitanguy Kehl labor light-skinned liposuction living low-income patients male medical residents miscegenation modeling mulatta narrative negroid nose neoliberal norms one’s particularly Paulo Penna Pitanguy’s plastic surgery political poor population portrayed practice procedures produce public health-care system public hospitals publicly funded hospitals race racial reconstructive surgeries Rio de Janeiro rural samba school sanitation Santa Casa São Paulo sexual simply skin soap opera social surgeons surgical techniques tion transform transnational tummy tuck ugly upward mobility woman working-class patients