TITLE

Biopolitical technologies of prevention

AUTHOR(S)
Diprose, Rosalyn
PUB. DATE
August 2008
SOURCE
Health Sociology Review;Aug2008, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p141
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This paper examines the way some public health campaigns in Australia have been caught within a paradigm shift in the management of 'risk society'. It details this paradigm shift in terms of an intensification of political technologies of 'pre-emption' in response to incalculable threats to physical security. The challenge this presents to public health programs, particularly those dealing with 'life style' health problems such as obesity, depression, and drugs (illegal and legal), is that, in pursuing admirable aims of the prevention of ill-health in the population, such campaigns need to avoid reproducing (and indeed should counter) the harmful effects of the pre-emptive approach to security. Using the example of 'quit smoking' campaigns of 2006-7, key features of the preemption paradigm are outlined, particularly the conservative comportment toward the future that it fosters. With reference to Foucault's concept of 'political technologies of bodies' and Merleau-Ponty's ideas about the temporality and intercorporeality of bodies, the paper also explores deleterious effects of this approach to risk and health on human agency, well-being, and social relations in general. The negative impact of the pre-emption approach is outlined in terms of the way it tends to dampen the openness (or 'potentiality') of bodies toward the future, the world, and other people. However, the temporality and intercorporeality of bodies also explains the operation of resistance by human agents to both the paradigm of pre-emption and the health prevention strategies that employ its way of thinking. This provides the basis for a gesture toward a more 'democratic', respectful, and effective approach to the promotion of health and well-being.
ACCESSION #
34652044

 

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