Biopower at the molar level: Liberal government and the invigoration of Danish society

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Over the last decade or so much social science research on the developments
in the life sciences and biomedicine seems to be focusing too narrowly on individualization or, more recently, on geneticization, that is, the ‘molecular’ level. This article argues that current public health policies in Denmark can only be properly understood by paying attention to the interventions targeting society and the population, that is, the ‘molar’ level, as well. Although the racialized kinds of biopower of the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries may be history, the health and vigour of populations of states remains a crucial target of political concerns and interventions. In order to illustrate this, we examine the transformations in Danish public health interventions over the last decades.
This case suggests that although ‘the social’ as a particular logic of governing may be on the retreat, the society and ‘its’ population today serves as a benchmark for a wide array public interventions seeking to make individuals and groups live a life that is longer and of a better quality. This new strategy, which goes well beyond reducing mortality and sickness, seems in principle to be without political limits.
TidsskriftSocial Theory & Health
Sider (fra-til)203–223
StatusUdgivet - 2011

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