Bio-power, medical gaze and negotiation: Narrative experiences of anti-aging practices among Thai women

Authors

  • Patcharee Niamsri Department of Society and Health, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health, Tivanond Road, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand
  • Pimpawun Boonmongkon Department of Society and Health, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand

Keywords:

aging body, anti-aging, bio-power, medical gaze, narratives

Abstract

     This qualitative study aimed to investigate anti-aging practices among Thai women and was conducted using an ethnographic approach. More specifically, the research methods included narrative interviews of participants, in-depth interviews with key informants, participant observation, and document analysis. Triangulation through multiple research data sources and methods was used for data validation purposes. Foucault's theory of biopower inspired the inquiry and analytical process. The key findings from this study were: (1) the senses of body-self were both positive and negative, including media of happiness and good-spirit, inferiority complexes and worries, changes of the blood and circulatory system, unwanted/undesirable appearance, and reduction in passion and sexual attractiveness; (2) the anti-aging praxis of women involves dominant medical discourse operating a series of diverse knowledge practices. Those have become a truth regime embodied into the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of women. The discourse practices of anti-aging were health, beauty, and lifestyle choices. However, women have fluidity of self as an agency to negotiate with those discourse practices fixed to life contexts. This study revealed the subjective experiences of aging bodies as a sense of body-self and diversity of anti-aging practices reproduce discourse practices to regulate women bodies as bio-power and to increase awareness of narrative experiences of women attempting to understand the agency of women in multiple anti-aging practices in various contexts.

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Published

24-01-2017

How to Cite

Niamsri, P., & Boonmongkon, P. (2017). Bio-power, medical gaze and negotiation: Narrative experiences of anti-aging practices among Thai women. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences, 38(1), 62–67. Retrieved from https://so04.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/kjss/article/view/242629

Issue

Section

Research articles