Bariatric and Cosmetic Surgery: Shifting Rationales in Contemporary Surgical Practices

  • Jean-Philippe GendronEmail author


Because they both seek to conform the body’s appearance to culturally determined standards of beauty, cosmetic and bariatric surgery are often analysed as bio-political instruments for normalization and social control. While such an approach might indeed be paramount in understanding surgery’s new role in society, an analysis of the process that transformed pre-existing procedures into pure cosmetic treatments also highlights the need for a more sustained study of their historically shifting rationales. This chapter thus investigates the evolving indications for surgical treatment in different historical contexts, showing that the conventional categories of normalization versus patient agency are more ambiguous than normally thought.

Further Reading

  1. Gadebusch Bondio, Mariacarla. Medizinische Ästhetik: Kosmetik und plastische Chirurgie zwischen Antike und früher Neuzeit. Munich: W. Fink, 2005.Google Scholar
  2. Gendron, Jean-Philippe. ‘Généalogie de la médecine opératoire de l’obésité: une histoire de l’expérimentation en chirurgie gastro-intestinale. XVIIe–XXe siècles’, PhD diss., Université du Québec à Montréal, 2016.Google Scholar
  3. Gilman, Sander L. Making the Body Beautiful. A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  4. Haiken, Elizabeth. Venus Envy. A History of Cosmetic Surgery. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  5. Ramsbrock, Annelie. The Science of Beauty. Culture and Cosmetics in Modern Germany, 1750–1930. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada

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