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  • Acknowledgments  ix

    Introduction. Plastic Bodies  1

    1. Managing the Inside, Out: Menstrual Blood and Bodily Dys-Appearance  43

    2. Is Menstruation Natural? Contemporary Rationales of Menstrual Management  71

    3. Sexing Hormones  105

    4. Hormonal Biopolitics: From Population Control to Self-Control  129

    5. Sex Hormones: Making Drugs, Forging Efficacies  159

    Conclusion. Limits That Do Not Foreclose  187

    Notes  207

    References  223

    Index  241
  • "Emilia Sanabria’s Plastic Bodies is a captivating book and a much needed study on perceptions on menstruation and associated biomedical practices. . . . Plastic Bodies is a pleasure to read; it is beautifully written and has a style that at times merges with the genre of travel writing enabling readers to accompany Sanabria to Salvador de Bahia where she conducted her fieldwork."
      — Ángela Lavilla Cañedo, Centre for Medical Humanities

    Reviews

  • "Emilia Sanabria’s Plastic Bodies is a captivating book and a much needed study on perceptions on menstruation and associated biomedical practices. . . . Plastic Bodies is a pleasure to read; it is beautifully written and has a style that at times merges with the genre of travel writing enabling readers to accompany Sanabria to Salvador de Bahia where she conducted her fieldwork."
      — Ángela Lavilla Cañedo, Centre for Medical Humanities

  • "Read this book and you’ll never think about hormones the same way again.  Emilia Sanabria takes us into the Brave New World of Brazilian gynecology, where experimental contraceptives (sometimes containing testosterone) are taken to suppress menstruation, improve body shape, 'give fire,' or manage relationships.  Plastic Bodies is a fascinating account of how hormones came to have multiple forms and uses in Brazil.  A beautifully written ethnography, it is also an intimate portrait of women’s experiences of these pharmaceuticals." — Alexander Edmonds, author of, Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex, and Plastic Surgery in Brazil

    "This book belongs to a new generation of ethnographies that are reinventing our conceptions of gender, health, embodiment, and medicine. In her lucid exposition of hormonal practices in Bahia, Emilia Sanabria both introduces us to a new form of biological control and challenges existing models of self, agency, and matter. By meticulously charting the relative biologies of her informants, she persuasively argues that their plastic bodies are also ours." — Sarah Franklin, author of, Biological Relatives: IVF, Stem Cells, and the Future of Kinship

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  • Description

    In Plastic Bodies Emilia Sanabria examines how sex hormones are enrolled to create, mold, and discipline social relations and subjectivities. She shows how hormones have become central to contemporary understandings of the body, class, gender, sex, personhood, modernity, and Brazilian national identity. Through interviews with women and doctors; observations in clinics, research centers and pharmacies; and analyses of contraceptive marketing, Sanabria traces the genealogy of menstrual suppression, from its use in population control strategies in the global South to its remarketing as a practice of pharmaceutical self-enhancement couched in neoliberal notions of choice. She links the widespread practice of menstrual suppression and other related elective medical interventions to Bahian views of the body as a malleable object that requires constant work. Given this bodily plasticity, and its potentially limitless character, the book considers ways to assess the values attributed to bodily interventions. Plastic Bodies will be of interest to all those working in medical anthropology, gender studies, and sexual and reproductive health.

    About The Author(s)

    Emilia Sanabria is Maîtresse de conferences in Social Anthropology at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.
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