Foucault News

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

A new global psychiatric power? Intro (2020), Psypolitics blog
by Federico Soldani – 6th Nov 2020

More than one year ago I presented the talk “Are we witnessing the emergence of a new global psychiatric power?” at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London, in the summer of 2019.

The overdue transcript, with this introduction and brief comments, subdivided in thirteen parts will be published over the next few months on PsyPolitics.


Of note, some of the themes above discussed in 2019 such as power and biopolitics, as ideated by Michel Foucault, are now prominently presented in the medical literature about the 2020 pandemic, including an editorial of a few days ago on the British medical journal The Lancet by its historical editor Sir Richard Horton‘COVID-19 – a crisis of power’.

Foucault 1970s and 1980s lectures are cited and public health is put in relation to the global crisis of power: “We continue to live in this era of governmentality, where individual actions are shaped by power that claims its legitimacy in scientific truthPublic health developed amid these social and political currents.” “The growing importance of health to industrial societies led to the valorisation of doctors and the growth of medical science. An alliance formed between medicine and the state—“a politico–medical hold on a population”.


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