Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Camargo, R., Ried, N.
Towards a genealogy of pharmacological practice
(2015) Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 10 p. Article in Press.

DOI: 10.1007/s11019-015-9648-3

Following Foucault’s work on disciplinary power and biopolitics, this article maps an initial cartography of the research areas to be traced by a genealogy of pharmacological practice. Pharmacology, as a practical activity, refers to the creation, production and sale of drugs/medication. This work identifies five lines of research that, although often disconnected from each other, may be observed in the specialized literature: (1) pharmaceuticalization; (2) regulation of the pharmaceutical industry; (3) the political-economic structure of the pharmaceutical industry; (4) consumption/consumerism of medications; (5) and bio-knowledge. The article suggests that a systematic analysis of these areas leads one to consider pharmacological practice a sui generis apparatus of power, which reaches beyond the purely disciplinary and biopolitical levels to encompass molecular configurations, thereby giving rise not only to new types of government over life, but also to new struggles for life, extending from molecular to population-wide levels.

Author Keywords
Biopolitics; Disciplinary power; Genealogy; Molecular politics; Pharmacological practice

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