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Journal Article

The politics of life itself Biomedicine, power, and subjectivity in the twenty-first century

01 Jan 2009-Sociologisk Forskning (Sociologisk Forskning)-Iss: 3, pp 68-70
About: This article is published in Sociologisk Forskning.The article was published on 2009-01-01 and is currently open access. It has received 1054 citations till now. The article focuses on the topics: Subjectivity & Power (social and political).
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a research program devoted to examining the process of economization is proposed, which refers to the assembly and qualification of actions, devices and analytical/practical descriptions as economic by social scientists and market actors.
Abstract: Presented in two parts, this article proposes a research programme devoted to examining ‘processes of economization’. In the first instalment, published in Economy and Society 38(3) (2009), we introduced the notion of ‘economization’. The term refers to the assembly and qualification of actions, devices and analytical/practical descriptions as ‘economic’ by social scientists and market actors. Through an analysis of selected works in anthropology, economics and sociology, we discussed the importance, meaning and framing of economization, unravelling its trace within a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. This second instalment of the article explores what it would mean to move this research programme forward by taking processes of economization as a topic of empirical investigation. Given the vast terrain of relationships that produce its numerous trajectories, to illustrate what such a project would entail we have limited ourselves to the examination of processes we call ‘marketization’. These p...

769 citations


Cites background from "The politics of life itself Biomedi..."

  • ...Health markets are particularly interesting fields for exploring this form of socio-technical agencement (Rose, 2006; Van Hoyweghen, 2007)....

    [...]

Book
20 Aug 2014
TL;DR: In this article, Now 1 1. Blackness: The Human 17 2. Bare Life: The Flesh 33 3. Assemblages: Articulation 46 4. Racism: Biopolitics 53 5. Law: Property 74 6. Depravation: Pornotropes 89 7. Deprivation: Hunger 113 8. Freedom: Soon 125 Notes 139 Bibliography 181 Index 205
Abstract: Acknowledgments ix Introduction: Now 1 1. Blackness: The Human 17 2. Bare Life: The Flesh 33 3. Assemblages: Articulation 46 4. Racism: Biopolitics 53 5. Law: Property 74 6. Depravation: Pornotropes 89 7. Deprivation: Hunger 113 8. Freedom: Soon 125 Notes 139 Bibliography 181 Index 205

731 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The roots of this perspective are traced, three overarching constructionist findings are presented, and fruitful directions for policy-relevant research in a social constructionist tradition are discussed.
Abstract: The social construction of illness is a major research perspective in medical sociology. This article traces the roots of this perspective and presents three overarching constructionist findings. First, some illnesses are particularly embedded with cultural meaning—which is not directly derived from the nature of the condition—that shapes how society responds to those afflicted and influences the experience of that illness. Second, all illnesses are socially constructed at the experiential level, based on how individuals come to understand and live with their illness. Third, medical knowledge about illness and disease is not necessarily given by nature but is constructed and developed by claims-makers and interested parties. We address central policy implications of each of these findings and discuss fruitful directions for policy-relevant research in a social constructionist tradition. Social constructionism provides an important counterpoint to medicine’s largely deterministic approaches to disease and ...

716 citations


Cites background from "The politics of life itself Biomedi..."

  • ...Accordingly, Foucault-inspired scholars deconstruct medical knowledge (i.e., provide a detailed analysis of medical discourse) to reveal its embedded meanings, normalizing tendencies, and relationship to embodiment and identity (Barker 1998; Lupton 1997; Rose 2006)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Anticipation is the palpable sense that things could be (all) right if we leverage new spaces of opportunity, reconfiguring "the possible" as discussed by the authors, a virtue emerging through actuarial saturation as sciences of the actual are displaced by speculative forecast.
Abstract: One defining quality of our current moment is its characteristic state of anticipation, of thinking and living toward the future. Anticipation has epistemic value, a virtue emerging through actuarial saturation as sciences of the actual are displaced by speculative forecast. It is a politics of temporality and affect. Key dimensions are: injunction as the moral imperative to characterize and inhabit states of uncertainty; abduction as requisite tacking back and forth between futures, pasts and presents, framing templates for producing the future; optimization as the moral responsibility of citizens to secure their ‘best possible futures’; preparedness as living in ‘preparation for’ potential trauma; and possibility as ‘ratcheting up’ hopefulness, especially through technoscience. Anticipation is the palpable sense that things could be (all) right if we leverage new spaces of opportunity, reconfiguring ‘the possible.’ We illustrate exemplary sites of anticipatory practice, especially biomedical, highlighting how such sites are gendered, increasingly implicating young girls.

584 citations


Cites background from "The politics of life itself Biomedi..."

  • ...‘The new world of vital risk and vital susceptibilities, demanding action in the vital present in the name of vital futures to come, is generating an emergent form of life’ (Rose, 2007, p. 7)....

    [...]

  • ...Nikolas Rose (2007), for instance, argues that the current ‘politics of life’ increasingly depends upon the optimization of future citizens by way of their ever more complexly geneticized psyches and molecularized biologies....

    [...]

  • ...In these new ‘economies of vitality,’ biopolitics are inextricably intertwined with capital (Rose, 2007, p. 8) by virtue of temporal abductions....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is suggested that the brain is necessarily the location of the `modern self', and that, consequently, the cerebral subject is the anthropological figure inherent to modernity (at least insofar as modernity gives supreme value to the individual as autonomous agent of choice and initiative).
Abstract: If personhood is the quality or condition of being an individual person, brainhood could name the quality or condition of being a brain. This ontological quality would define the `cerebral subject' that has, at least in industrialized and highly medicalized societies, gained numerous social inscriptions since the mid-20th century. This article explores the historical development of brainhood. It suggests that the brain is necessarily the location of the `modern self', and that, consequently, the cerebral subject is the anthropological figure inherent to modernity (at least insofar as modernity gives supreme value to the individual as autonomous agent of choice and initiative). It further argues that the ideology of brainhood impelled neuroscientific investigation much more than it resulted from it, and sketches how an expanding constellation of neurocultural discourses and practices embodies and sustains that ideology.

392 citations


Cites background from "The politics of life itself Biomedi..."

  • ...If they are to help us navigate the stormy ‘politics of life itself’ (Rose, 2007), the answers to these questions will have to avoid both reducing neuroimages to an arbitrary manipulation of numbers, and raising them to the status of portraits of the self....

    [...]

  • ...What does that imply for the materialization of invisible psychological qualities and experiences, and for the transformation of material processes into immateriality? What is the relation of the digital image to the object of knowledge pursued in the laboratory? In sum – and the question epitomizes the problem of brainhood – what do we see when we look at a brain scan? If they are to help us navigate the stormy ‘politics of life itself’ (Rose, 2007), the answers to these questions will have to avoid both reducing neuroimages to an arbitrary manipulation of numbers, and raising them to the status of portraits of the self....

    [...]

References
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a research program devoted to examining the process of economization is proposed, which refers to the assembly and qualification of actions, devices and analytical/practical descriptions as economic by social scientists and market actors.
Abstract: Presented in two parts, this article proposes a research programme devoted to examining ‘processes of economization’. In the first instalment, published in Economy and Society 38(3) (2009), we introduced the notion of ‘economization’. The term refers to the assembly and qualification of actions, devices and analytical/practical descriptions as ‘economic’ by social scientists and market actors. Through an analysis of selected works in anthropology, economics and sociology, we discussed the importance, meaning and framing of economization, unravelling its trace within a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. This second instalment of the article explores what it would mean to move this research programme forward by taking processes of economization as a topic of empirical investigation. Given the vast terrain of relationships that produce its numerous trajectories, to illustrate what such a project would entail we have limited ourselves to the examination of processes we call ‘marketization’. These p...

769 citations

Book
20 Aug 2014
TL;DR: In this article, Now 1 1. Blackness: The Human 17 2. Bare Life: The Flesh 33 3. Assemblages: Articulation 46 4. Racism: Biopolitics 53 5. Law: Property 74 6. Depravation: Pornotropes 89 7. Deprivation: Hunger 113 8. Freedom: Soon 125 Notes 139 Bibliography 181 Index 205
Abstract: Acknowledgments ix Introduction: Now 1 1. Blackness: The Human 17 2. Bare Life: The Flesh 33 3. Assemblages: Articulation 46 4. Racism: Biopolitics 53 5. Law: Property 74 6. Depravation: Pornotropes 89 7. Deprivation: Hunger 113 8. Freedom: Soon 125 Notes 139 Bibliography 181 Index 205

731 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The roots of this perspective are traced, three overarching constructionist findings are presented, and fruitful directions for policy-relevant research in a social constructionist tradition are discussed.
Abstract: The social construction of illness is a major research perspective in medical sociology. This article traces the roots of this perspective and presents three overarching constructionist findings. First, some illnesses are particularly embedded with cultural meaning—which is not directly derived from the nature of the condition—that shapes how society responds to those afflicted and influences the experience of that illness. Second, all illnesses are socially constructed at the experiential level, based on how individuals come to understand and live with their illness. Third, medical knowledge about illness and disease is not necessarily given by nature but is constructed and developed by claims-makers and interested parties. We address central policy implications of each of these findings and discuss fruitful directions for policy-relevant research in a social constructionist tradition. Social constructionism provides an important counterpoint to medicine’s largely deterministic approaches to disease and ...

716 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Anticipation is the palpable sense that things could be (all) right if we leverage new spaces of opportunity, reconfiguring "the possible" as discussed by the authors, a virtue emerging through actuarial saturation as sciences of the actual are displaced by speculative forecast.
Abstract: One defining quality of our current moment is its characteristic state of anticipation, of thinking and living toward the future. Anticipation has epistemic value, a virtue emerging through actuarial saturation as sciences of the actual are displaced by speculative forecast. It is a politics of temporality and affect. Key dimensions are: injunction as the moral imperative to characterize and inhabit states of uncertainty; abduction as requisite tacking back and forth between futures, pasts and presents, framing templates for producing the future; optimization as the moral responsibility of citizens to secure their ‘best possible futures’; preparedness as living in ‘preparation for’ potential trauma; and possibility as ‘ratcheting up’ hopefulness, especially through technoscience. Anticipation is the palpable sense that things could be (all) right if we leverage new spaces of opportunity, reconfiguring ‘the possible.’ We illustrate exemplary sites of anticipatory practice, especially biomedical, highlighting how such sites are gendered, increasingly implicating young girls.

584 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is suggested that the brain is necessarily the location of the `modern self', and that, consequently, the cerebral subject is the anthropological figure inherent to modernity (at least insofar as modernity gives supreme value to the individual as autonomous agent of choice and initiative).
Abstract: If personhood is the quality or condition of being an individual person, brainhood could name the quality or condition of being a brain. This ontological quality would define the `cerebral subject' that has, at least in industrialized and highly medicalized societies, gained numerous social inscriptions since the mid-20th century. This article explores the historical development of brainhood. It suggests that the brain is necessarily the location of the `modern self', and that, consequently, the cerebral subject is the anthropological figure inherent to modernity (at least insofar as modernity gives supreme value to the individual as autonomous agent of choice and initiative). It further argues that the ideology of brainhood impelled neuroscientific investigation much more than it resulted from it, and sketches how an expanding constellation of neurocultural discourses and practices embodies and sustains that ideology.

392 citations