On illness and value: biopolitics, psychosomatics, participating bodies

Greco, Monica. 2019. On illness and value: biopolitics, psychosomatics, participating bodies. Medical Humanities, 45(2), pp. 107-115. ISSN 1468-215X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In its heyday, around the mid-20th century, psychosomatic medicine was promoted as heralding a new science of body/mind relations, with the promise of transforming medicine as a whole. Sixty years on, the field has achieved no more than a respectable position as a research specialism within the medical status quo. This paper articulates the problematic of psychosomatics through a number of propositions that reconnect its promise of novelty to the present and to contemporary concerns. In contrast to classic approaches to ‘psychosomatic problems’, which typically set out by denouncing the conceptual inadequacy of mind/body dualism, the focus proposed is on the resilience of dualism as an empirical datum deserving closer analysis. The paper thus asks: what is the character of dualism considered under the aspect of what it achieves, and thus as an expression of value? Drawing on the thought of A. N. Whitehead, Michel Foucault, and Viktor von Weizsäcker, the argument formulates a set of ‘psychosomatic problems’ informed by the concept of biopolitics and discusses their relevance in relation to the politics of participatory medicine.

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24 February 2019Accepted
7 June 2019Published Online
June 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

24 Apr 2019 15:00

Last Modified:

10 Dec 2020 15:48

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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