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My Body, my Capital : Biocitizenship in the Era of Neoliberalism Key note speakers

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lundi 27 jun 2016
Faculté des sciences de la société - Département de sociologie

Centered on the maintenance, control, improvement and extension of individual vitality, biocitizenship is characterized by a refocusing of policy on health issues. The biological body thus appears torn between two opposing movements: that of its development as a biological resource and that of its overvaluation as an identity support. Broken down into a series of elements (genes, cells, organs, tissues), the body is both the raw material essential to the deployment of the biomedical industry and recipient of biotechnological innovations. The valuation of "life itself" and the ideal of perfect health characterizing biocitizenship result in a representation of the body as capital. The maintenance and extension of health then appear under the angle of an investment that increases the "value" of individuals. This conception of the body as capital is reflected, for example, in the development of private banks of umbilical cords that encourage parents to invest in their child's biological capital. More generally, the conception of the body as capital motivates biocitizen to want to invest in maintaining their health by taking risk as in the case of medical tourism. Beyond hopes, suffering and anxiety experienced by patients facing illness, the body representation as individual capital is in fact a neoliberal culture that turns every patient in contractor.