Neoliberal Dogma? Revisiting Foucault on Social Security, Healthcare, and Autonomy (Pt. II of II)

26 Jan

JHIBlog

by guest contributor Luca Provenzano

Earlier, I discussed claims that the French philosopher Michel Foucault anticipated or deployed neoliberal dogmas about social security in an interview in 1983. I now consider Foucault’s assertions about health and healthcare in the same interview. I further assess how the allegations that he deployed “neoliberal dogmas” might relate to the contradictions of contemporary knowledge production.

In the 1983 interview, Foucault indeed proposed that “health” was not a right (cf. Zamora, Critiquer Foucault, 103). But not as a conclusion to “neoliberal” reasoning: the main argument was that it was obscurantist to “secure” by juridical right a state of biological and psychological fact. In other words, Foucault considered that a state as fragile as “health” could not be secured by legislation.

It is clear that there is hardly sense in speaking of a “right to health.” Health, good health, cannot come from a right…

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