Michel Foucault and the Problematics of Power: Theorizing DTCA and Medicalized Subjectivity

Black Hawk Hancock
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2018 July 9, 43 (4): 439-468
This article explores Foucault's two different notions of power: one where the subject is constituted by power-knowledge relations and another that emphasizes how power is a central feature of human action. By drawing out these two conceptualizations of power, Foucault's work contributes three critical points to the formation of medicalized subjectivities: (1) the issue of medicalization needs to be discussed both in terms of both specific practices and holistically (within the carceral archipelago); (2) we need to think how we as human beings are "disciplined" and "subjectivated" through medicalization, as discourses, practices, and institutions are all crystallizations of power relations; and (3) we need to reflect on how we can "resist" this process of subjectification, since "power comes from below" and patients shape themselves through "technologies of the self." Ultimately, Foucault's work does not merely assist us in refining our analysis; rather, it is essential for conceptualizing medicalization in contemporary society.

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