Foucault News

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

Peeters, R. & Schuilenburg, M., The birth of mindpolitics: understanding nudging in public health policy, Social Theory & Health, 09 November 2016
DOI: 10.1057/s41285-016-0024-z

Abstract
This article addresses the question: ‘In what ways have nudging and other behavioural techniques entered the realm of policymaking for public health and what does that mean for the way contemporary society is governed?’ In our genealogy of Dutch public health policy, we have identified four periods: ‘rational persuasion/individual responsibility’ (‘70s), ‘welfarist emancipation’ (‘80s), ‘neo-liberal regulation’ (‘90s), and ‘management of choice’ (now). We show how a different type of technique, which we call ‘mindpolitics’, has slowly complemented the biopolitics of public hygiene and health care. We argue that to think in terms of biopolitics today means to think of its relation to a world in which public health is managed through architecture of choice and the way individuals are nudged into making better decisions.

Keywords
biopolitics, nudging, Foucault, public health, choice architecture

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