This article addresses the phenomenon of metabolic surgery in urban India, an intervention designed to address the metabolic diseases of obesity and diabetes. While consumptive willpower grounds prescriptions for changes in lifestyle, such as diet and exercise, metabolic surgery poses a contrasting pathway to change. Surgeons cut, rearrange, and stitch up the gut in order to recalibrate the gut-brain axis itself, such that postsurgical patients are less hungry, have more balanced digestive hormonal regulation, experience normalized insulin responses, and lose weight rapidly. Aided by surgery, the body takes over and becomes its own instrument of therapy from the inside out. Postsurgery, a person could enjoy loosened ties to the diets and medication that led nowhere and could instead invest in intimate attachments elsewhere. Using the metabolism as the anchor to ties “elsewhere,” metabolic surgery opens a material-discursive space in which the will to regulate gives intentionality its bodily moorings.
Harris Solomon; Short Cuts: Metabolic Surgery and Gut Attachments in India. Social Text 1 September 2014; 32 (3 (120)): 69–86. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-2703860
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