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The Biopolitics of Beauty: Cosmetic Citizenship and Affective Capital in Brazil

The Biopolitics of Beauty: Cosmetic Citizenship and Affective Capital in Brazil

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  • Alvaro Jarr�n
  • University of California Press
  • Paperback
  • 9780520293885
  • 8.9 X 5.9 X 0.7 inches
  • 0.85 pounds
  • Medical > Surgery - Cosmetic & Reconstructive
  • English
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Book Description

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, Jarr�n 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 Jarr�n 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.
The Biopolitics of Beauty: Cosmetic Citizenship and Affective Capital in Brazil

Author Bio

Dr. Alvaro Jarrín’s first research project explored the political economy of beauty in Brazil and its relationship to an unprecedented growth in plastic surgery, particularly in public hospitals.  They are the author of The Biopolitics of Beauty: Cosmetic Citizenship and Affective Capital in Brazil (University of California Press), which won the NECLAS Marysa Navarro Book Prize in 2018 and an honorable mention for the AFA Michelle Rosaldo Book Prize in 2019. The book examines how aesthetic hierarchies inform Brazilian body politics and play a central part in the production of racial, gender and class difference in that nation.

Jarrín’s second research project focuses on a new type of activism in Brazil that celebrates transfeminine and transmasculine subjectivities through the production of political art, including theater, spoken word, digital art, fashion, film, music and performance art. Known as artivismo [artivism], this form of activism purposely blurs the boundaries between art and politics in order to produce visceral reactions in the audience, and thus counter the politics of disgust of Brazil’s far right, which portrays LGBT identities as a threat to the nation. The defiant visibility of gender nonconforming activists, which Jarrín calls "visceral politics," demonstrates that affect is useful for both sides of the political aisle as they make claims of who should get access to citizenship.

Prof. Jarrín teaches courses on medical anthropology, gender and sexuality, the cyborg self, inequality in Latin America, global queer activism, and racial justice.

 

Source: The College of the Holy Cross 

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