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Biopolitics And Social Pathologies

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the role played by the issue of public health within liberal governmentality. It shows that issues of social medicine cannot be reduced to issues of social control and regulation by medicalisation, and suggests that the idea of biopolitics could help define a principle that would guide the critique of what could be called 'social pathologies'. According to Foucault, liberalism cannot be reduced to a mere ideology, and liberalism in itself is not primarily an attempt to limit government from outside but a limitation from inside. Foucault leaves no room for a social criticism grounded in a way of politicising life that would conflict with the logic of liberalism. The project of social medicine is not univocal, and cannot be excluded so that a reference to social and psychic suffering could provide the lever for the social critique of some of the social pathologies of our times.

Keywords: biopolitics; liberalism; social pathologies; social regulation



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