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In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By chuckmichael
Words 1224
Pages 5
Christopher Epps
Professor Mauldin
Bio-politics, Medicine, and Bodies
January 26 2013
Bio-politics, Bio-citizenship, Bio-citizenship: A Big Mixture
As a society, we throw around the word “Politics” freely and often. Its a polarizing concept and evokes both excitement and disdain in American citizens. However, to many the idea of politics seems very abstract. Sure, there are visible institutions of government and tangible evidence of certain political machines at work. But people struggle with seeing deeper into how government affects not only their day to day lives, but their very bodies. I'm talking about the intersection of private science and government-”bio politics”. To engage in a such discussion of Bio-politics and how political power is exerted over life, one needs a firm knowledge of medicalization. In a broad sense, medicalization is simply the expansion of medicine in our society. However, the term is interpreted differently depending on who you ask. Sociologist Peter Conrad describes medicalization as a “process by which medical problems become more defined and treated as medical problems, usually in terms of illness and disorders.” He sees the power in language and how the ever expanding categories that come from medicalization are actually a form of social control. Disability activist Irving Zola validates this idea but adds that “everyday life has come under Medical dominion, influence, and supervision.” Having been stricken by polio, Zola spoke from a specific group that has come under the affects of medicalization. His primary focus and fear were the moral consequences that these categories and labels had on both individuality and morality. In addition, he advocated for people to own their disability and not succumb to the power of medical institutions to decide what is “normal”. Adele Clarke takes a slightly different approach in…...

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