Giving an account of entrepreneurial subjects and global spaces: social media and Colombian cosmetic surgery




Bradbury, Spencer Douglas

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Cosmetic surgery tourism portrays the recipients of cosmetic surgery as subjects who must work on themselves by investing in surgical means of self-transformation and self-refinement. However, little research explores how cosmetic surgeons position themselves in such aesthetic ventures through advertising themselves online. Drawing upon ethnographic methods and theoretical contributions from governmentality studies, this thesis explores how cosmetic surgeons in Colombia, an increasingly popular destination for cosmetic surgery tourism, come to be “entrepreneurs of themselves” through performing governmental discourses of neoliberalism and globalization. I present findings from a research project that incorporates 20 interviews with cosmetic surgeons in the cities of Barranquilla, Cali, and Bogota. By analyzing participants’ understandings of what compels, complicates, and contests such entrepreneurial practices, I discuss how governmental discourses enable yet constrain the very subjects that are produced in such relations of power. This thesis thus examines the performativity of ethical practices and technologies of the self, thereby further developing an analysis of both the everyday and imminent forms of conducting oneself in a proliferating “global” economic sphere.



Cosmetic Surgery, Colombia, Governmentality, Performativity, Subject Formation, Practices of the Self, Social Media