The increasing demand for cosmetic surgery seems to indicate important changes taking place in contemporary society. This work aims at exploring the cultural models that organize the discourse on cosmetic surgery from the journalistic production in Italy. This is to capture the culturally significant coordinates within which the body image is shaped and the role played by cosmetic surgery is defined, in a psycho-dynamic perspective. The paradigm adopted in this study proposes a social representations theory based on the construct of collusion, as process of socialization of emotions that are shared within a context (Carli, 2006). The emotional text analysis (Carli e Paniccia, 2002), a methodology of textual and discourse analysis, has been conducted on the titles of 913 articles of the main Italian newspapers. Four symbolic models have emerged that indicate a different cultural contextualization of the object of investigation: the hedonistic area of health fanaticism, the world of mass media, the commercial market, the individual sphere. Moreover, these areas seem to be connected with different cultural representations of the body image, respectively, in the direction of an ideal, amplified, commodified and eternal body and of the function attributed to cosmetic surgery, organized on principles of conformist normativity, anomic selfcenteredness, social control, identity self-assurance. This work offers a reflection on the implications of these models and psychogenetic hypotheses on the entire Local Culture detected.
Keywords: Cosmetic surgery, social representations, cultural models, emotional text analysis, collusion.