Biopolitical technologies of prevention

Diprose, Rosalyn
August 2008
Health Sociology Review;Aug2008, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p141
Academic Journal
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.


Related Articles

  • Health Dos & Don'ts.  // Glamour;Apr2007, Vol. 105 Issue 4, p197 

    The article offers everyday tips on how to stay healthy. One discusses the idea of not carrying too many bags, but instead buying a smaller bag to avoid back problems. Another tip points out that stiletto high heel shoes should not be worn for more than four to six hours at a time. The article...

  • Seeing the benefits of learning. Feinstein, Leon; Budge, David // Adults Learning;Jun2007, Vol. 18 Issue 10, p20 

    This article discusses the benefits of adult learning. A study by the Centre for Research Into the Wider Benefits showed that education is an important mechanism for enhancing the health and well-being of individuals and reducing the health care and associated costs of dependence and lost...

  • US rankings: Adult smoking, sedentary behavior decline.  // Nation's Health;Feb2016, Vol. 46 Issue 1, p1 

    The article focuses on the "America's Health Rankings Annual Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities" from the United Health Foundation and American Public Health Association (APHA) which was released in December 2015. Topics include the reduction in smoking and...

  • Cleaning up Victorian Inverurie. Wood, Sydney // History Scotland Magazine;Jul/Aug2008, Vol. 8 Issue 4, p39 

    The article focuses on the humane works of Littlejohn, a doctor, and Alexander Hunter, a town officer, in maintaining the health and cleanliness in 1847 at Edinburgh, Scotland. Littlejohn executes a careful inspection of the wells that supply the drinking water consumed by 2,000 Scots at that...

  • Psychology is part of everyone's life. Kafka, Georgia // Psynopsis: Canada's Psychology Newspaper;Spring2011, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p18 

    The article contends that psychology is essential to everyone's life, specifically to the health and well being of Canadians.

  • Erratum.  // Gerontologist;Dec2015, Vol. 55 Issue 6, p1067 

    A correction to the article "Public Health Imperative of the 21st Century: Innovations in Palliative Care Systems, Services, and Supports to Improve Health and Well-Being of Older Americans" that was published in Volume 55, Issue 2 is presented.

  • Public health and wellbeing: A matter for the midwife? Crabbe, Katy; Hemingway, Ann // British Journal of Midwifery;Sep2014, Vol. 22 Issue 9, p634 

    This paper will provide a critical narrative review of public health interventions in pregnancy and the role of the midwife in public health. The historical and political context of public health and midwifery will be examined to give a background to the current midwifery public health agenda....

  • Australian Public Health Initiatives to control Tobacco Smoking. Gartoulla, R. P. // Journal of Institute of Medicine;Dec2013, Vol. 35 Issue 3, p62 

    Introduction: Public health is a complete mental, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing of the human population. The term 'Public' denotes the meaning of both biotic and abiotic universe; 'Health' is the comprehensiveness of life; and 'Public Health' means health related to the human...

  • Evidence of a Healthy Volunteer Effect in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. PF Pinsky; A Miller; BS Kramer; T Church; D Reding; P Prorok; E Gelmann; RE Schoen; S Buys; RB Hayes; CD Berg // American Journal of Epidemiology;Apr2007, Vol. 165 Issue 8, p874 

    Volunteers for prevention or screening trials are generally healthier and have lower mortality than the general population. The Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO) is an ongoing, multicenter, randomized trial that randomized 155,000 men and women aged...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics