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Interface - Comunicação, Saúde, Educação

On-line version ISSN 1807-5762


MARTINS, André. Biopolitics: medical power and patient autonomy in a new conception of health. Interface (Botucatu) [online]. 2004, vol.8, n.14, pp.21-32. ISSN 1807-5762.

This paper proposes an articulation between Foucault's critique of what he called the "authoritarian medicalization of bodies and diseases" and Spinoza's concept of the enhancement of the power to act, within the framework of a reflection on the issue of individual autonomy. To this end, a critical and genealogical discussion of the concept of health and of cure as found in current medical practice is presented, as well as a discussion of medical power and the mechanistic and scientistic ideas concerning the body and the diseases attached to it. This idea is in contrast to Canguilhem's notion of health as being linked to normativeness and of cure as being connected with rehabilitation. Based on this change of indicators, current medical practices are reconsidered, as well as the idea of encouraging health and prevention.

Keywords : Power; medicalization; patient autonomy; biopolitics; ethics.

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