Pele, Antonio, and Stephen Riley. “For a Right to Health Beyond Biopolitics: The Politics of Pandemic and the ‘Politics of Life.’” Law, Culture and the Humanities, (February 2021).
We argue, drawing on the work of Didier Fassin, that the right to health can be understood as an essential part of a radical politics of life. Since the right to health implies fostering the well-being of individuals in a way that is structural, progressive and non-discriminatory, the right not only problematises the ‘governmentality’ approach to power but allows push-back against statist and market discourses through a specific phenomenology of right. The discourse of rights – like the pandemic itself – oscillates between general and particular in a way that makes normative responses unstable. Nonetheless it is this dialectic that is characteristic of human rights discourse and allows a right to health to be the proper response to pandemic without it being subsumed within neoliberal logic. A politics of life is a multi-focussed analysis of life, health and society potentially resisting the appropriation of biological life by neoliberalism.
Biopolitics, COVID-19, Fassin, Foucault, Health, Human Rights, Pandemic, Politics of Life