Foucault News

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

Bahar Aykan and Sanem Güvenç-Salgırlı (2015). Responsibilizing individuals, regulating health: debating public spots, risk, and neoliberal governmentality in contemporary Turkey. New Perspectives on Turkey, 53, pp 71-92.


Currently, a mass media campaign is underway in Turkey using a new
communication means called the “ public spot” (kamu spotu ). This article
concentrates on the public spots produced by Turkey’ s Ministry of Health, and
more specifically on those that advocate quitting smoking and preventing
obesity. Drawing on interviews with Ministry of Health personnel and
analyzing the content of these spots, we suggest that they operate as risk
caveats. They caution individuals against smoking and obesity’s potential harms
and guide her/him towards self-health governance by encouraging the
maintenance of a particular lifestyle that embraces a balanced diet, regular
activity, and no smoking. As such, we read these spots as a technique of
neoliberal governmentality. This technique works primarily by responsibilizing
individuals as health entrepreneurs investing in risk free lifestyles; that is, by
conceptualizing health as a matter of self-conduct where personal responsibilities
are emphasized.

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