9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN16 Sociology of Health and Illness

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Embodiment, Emotions and Health II Building I, 1E2

The demand for aesthetic surgery in Italy: a quantitative and qualitative analysis

This paper focuses on contemporary aesthetic surgery market in Italy. Even if its history is longer than one could imagine, since it was practiced already at the beginning of the twentieth century, it has reached an unprecedented dimension in last twenty years. Media usually attribute its major change to the fact that it now involves people more and more differentiated: men as well as women, younger as well as older people, lower as well as higher classes. This paper, tries to reassess this change, cutting it down to size. For this purpose, after making a brief comparison among different European countries about the way aesthetic procedures are taken into account by health care and insurance systems, an integrated analysis has been developed using both quantitative and qualitative data collected in Italy in 2005-2006.
More precisely, the quantitative analysis based on the outcomes of an original survey conducted on a sample of 5060 individuals, tries to evaluate at what extent people of different ranks, classes, educational levels, age and gender take aesthetic surgery into consideration.
Qualitative interviews I made in three Italian cities to patients as well as to aesthetic surgeons, have been gathered in order to understand at what extent aesthetic surgery is accepted and legitimated by public and professionals as something relevant to ?health and wellbeing?, and how practices and discourses differ from the stereotyped imagine media offer of cosmetic surgery even when trying to legitimate it. These results also contribute to an assessment of discourses about the hypothesis that health care systems take cosmetic surgery into account.