Governmentality, Critical Scholarship, and the Medical Humanities

Journal of Medical Humanities 24 (3-4):187-201 (2003)
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Foucault's work has had a profound impact on the medical humanities over the last decade or so. However, most work to date has focused on Foucault's earlier writings rather than his later contributions on the self and governmentality. This article assesses the significance of the concept of governmentality for critical scholarship in the medical humanities, particularly in creating ethical awareness in the field of health care. It examines the context for Foucault's later work, and contributions arising from scholarship building on this work. The governmentality literature, it is argued, raises novel questions about the ways we have come to think about health care in late modern societies. However, there are some limitations with this body of work which have not been fully acknowledged by scholars. The article discusses some of these limitations and offers some suggestions for a fruitful way forward



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