Foucault News

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

Maunula, Laena. “The pandemic subject: Canadian pandemic plans and communicating with the public about an influenza pandemic.” Healthcare policy/Politiques de santé vol. 9, Spec Issue (2013): 14-25.

Open access

In this paper, I examine the goals for pandemic public communication as outlined in two Canadian plans for pandemic planning and infection control. I critique these strategies by drawing on Foucault’s notions of governmentality and biopower. My argument is that the public health communication campaign goals reviewed rest upon a particular conceptualization of health in the context of pandemic planning as an individual/family duty, and that scientific/medical expert knowledge is most appropriate for guiding pandemic planning. This study contributes to a sociological understanding of how pandemic preparedness and infection control are represented in Canadian pandemic plans, how public health shapes pandemic communication messages in Canada, and the implications of those messages for subjectivity and notions of citizenship.

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