Thinking beyond polemics: approaching the health society through Foucault

Greco, Monica. 2009. Thinking beyond polemics: approaching the health society through Foucault. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 34(2), pp. 13-27. ISSN 1011-0070 [Article]

[img] Text
Greco_-_2009_Thinking_beyond_polemics.pdf - Accepted Version
Permissions: GRO Registered Users Only

Download (199kB)

Abstract or Description

This paper offers a synthetic outline of the contribution of a foucauldian approach to the analysis of health, with specific attention to the dynamics of the relation between health promotion and the ‘health society’. Through the concept of ‘biopower’, this approach was among the first in sociology to highlight the general relevance of health to the constitutive dynamics of modern (and eventually late-modern) societies. Through the concept of ‘governmentality’, scholars in a range of disciplines offered early critical analyses of health promotion discourse in the specific context of neo-liberalism, highlighting some of its paradoxical features. To the extent that such paradoxes are now more widely articulated as an explicit subject for public debate through the notion of a ‘health society’, it might be argued that the critical function initially offered through the notion of governmentality has become somewhat redundant. Against this background, the paper concludes by discussing, through examples relating to new biotechnologies and to drug policy, how a Foucauldian approach continues to be relevant in the contemporary context.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



June 2009Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Nov 2011 10:50

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:31

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)