Katharine Daneski and Paul Higgs ‘How far can Foucault take us? An analysis of the changing discourses and limitations of the medical treatment of apoplexy and stroke’, Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, December 15, 2010
This article examines the conditions under which epistemological shifts in medicine have shaped the history of apoplexy and stroke. Our intention is to understand how stroke medicine as a distinct branch of bio-medicine has emerged in its current form. In doing so, we draw on aspects of the work of Michel Foucault as they relate to fabrication of biomedical discourses. The past 300 years of the transformation of the condition is examined using Michel Foucault’s analysis of medical history as instances of the changing spatialization of disease. While the adoption of this approach helped explain how medical practice was shaped by changing interpretations of the causes of apoplexy and stroke over the past few centuries, we also found that there were certain limitations to such an approach. Overall, however, we hope to show that an examination of the history of stroke medicine through a Foucauldian influenced lens can provide a useful understanding of its current circumstances as well as throw light on gaps in Foucauldian approaches themselves.