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216 × 138 × 12 mm
160 pages
4 illustrations
01 Apr 2008
  • £14.95

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Making the Cut How Cosmetic Surgery is Transforming our Lives Anthony Elliott

From London to New York, Madrid to Melbourne, Singapore to Tehran, the demand for cosmetic surgery is soaring. Botox injections, collagen fillers, breast implants, microdermabrasion, mini face-lifts: extreme reinvention is all the rage. For better or worse, ours is the era of cosmetic surgical culture.

In this captivating book, which draws upon research conducted in Europe, America and Australasia, social commentator Anthony Elliott investigates the rise and rise of cosmetic surgery, lucidly reviewing recent developments in celebrity culture and the consumer industries, which many argue are responsible for the popularity of cosmetic and surgical forms of extreme reinvention. Yet it is not just cultural forces advancing the makeover industries: Elliott shows that cosmetic surgical culture has become increasingly global in our own time as a result of major institutional changes dominating public life in Western societies. He provocatively argues that personal vulnerabilities have reached the point where people turn to surgical culture in an effort to reinvent themselves and improve their life prospects.

Making the Cut paints a disturbing social portrait of a global culture held in thrall to immediacy, where cosmetic surgical enhancements of the body are fundamental to new forms of self-design and self-improvement.

‘Elliott makes a lot of interesting points and connections between the desires of the individual and the needs of the global economy (newer, thinner, faster) and how those things are being carved into our flesh. Indeed, while reading it, you cant but think you are watching the birth of an expert . . . His mind works in intriguing ways.’ — Los Angeles Times

‘thought-provoking and disturbing . . . Elliott is a professor of sociology, and he has trained his keen sociologist's eye on the astonishing phenomenon that cosmetic surgery has become. Using the methods of his field of study, he now presents us with this small and insightful book that is sure to alter the perspective of everyone who reads it.’ — The New Republic

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Anthony Elliott is Chair of Sociology in the Department of Sociology at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, and Visiting Research Professor in the Department of Sociology at the Open University. He is the co-author with Charles Lemert of The New Individualism (2005), and he has written for The Irish Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald.

1   Drastic Plastic: The Rise of Cosmetic Surgical Culture
2   Celebrity Obsession: Fame, Fortune and Faking It
3   Want-Now Consumerism: Immediate Transformation, Instant Obsolescence
4   Making the Cut: Cosmetic Surgical Culture in the Global Electronic Economy
Photo Acknowledgements