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Using Foucault: Genealogy, Governmentality and the Problem of Chronic Illness

by Ann Reich 1,* and Margo Turnbull 2
School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia
International Research Centre for the Advancement of Health Communication, Department of English, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong 00852, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genealogy 2018, 2(2), 13;
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 6 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beyond Foucault: Excursions in Political Genealogy)
This article explores the unique contribution that Foucault’s work on genealogy and governmentality can make to the analysis of contemporary programs of government. The article uses an Australian study of the ‘problem’ of chronic illness to argue that this perspective offers valuable insights into how ‘problems’ such as chronic illness have become linked to advanced liberal discourses and practices of self-governing and self-responsibility. These insights are particularly valuable in fields such as primary health care that have a noted shortage of critical and reflective studies that explore the links between people and changing ideas of health and disease. This article details how taking up an analytics of governmentality and political genealogy informed by Foucault, facilitated the tracing of the dominant discourses and practices, and the connections to the day-to -day lives of the clients with chronic diseases. Importantly, this approach opened up a more critical consideration of the ways in which dispersed approaches to governing through programs, such as integrated care, shape and influence the lives of individuals. These dispersed ways of governing are not linear but rather unfold through ongoing relays, connections and the (re)production of discourses. View Full-Text
Keywords: genealogy; governmentality; Foucault; chronic illness; translation; assemblage genealogy; governmentality; Foucault; chronic illness; translation; assemblage
MDPI and ACS Style

Reich, A.; Turnbull, M. Using Foucault: Genealogy, Governmentality and the Problem of Chronic Illness. Genealogy 2018, 2, 13.

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