Clinics of Oblivion: Makeover Culture and Cosmetic Surgery

Meredith Jones


This paper examines cosmetic surgery tourism, arguing that it can be meaningfully analysed as part of makeover culture. It shows that while cosmetic surgery tourism sits at a junction of cosmetic surgery and medical tourism, it also has much in common with contemporary tourism practices. The paper posits cosmetic surgery tourism not only as an economic and globalised phenomenon but also as a set of practices that are experienced, and that take place on the body (see also Cook, 2010; Bell et al. 2011). Chris Rojek’s work on contemporary tourist practices is deployed in order to argue that the cosmetic surgery tourist’s body is itself the ‘site’ to be visited and discovered; it is also the souvenir that is brought home. When body and site are brought together in cosmetic surgery tourism, they form a potent nexus that is unique to a contemporary moment tied up with globalisation and consumption, where both identity and self-transformation are managed through the body.


cosmetic surgery; tourism; gender; labour; the body; makeover culture

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