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Revista Mal Estar e Subjetividade

Print version ISSN 1518-6148


HENRIQUES, Rogério Paes. The medicalization of the existence and the subject´s decentering in contemporaneity. Rev.Mal-Estar Subj [online]. 2012, vol.12, n.3-4, pp. 793-816. ISSN 1518-6148.

This paper discusses the process of life medicalization that occurs when problems related to human existence - whether deviant behaviors (madness, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse etc.), once considered spiritual/moral and legal/criminal problems, or natural processes of life (sexuality, childbirth, aging and death etc.) - are being redefined by the medical-scientific rationality. Thereby, the medical knowledge expands itself to the field of non-pathological, focusing on deviant behaviors or natural processes. Its penetration in everyday life is promoted by health promotion practices, which use the concept of health as "well-being" and "quality of life", a redefinition proposed by World Health Organization (WHO). The paper suggests that the ongoing life medicalization, which takes place through a "health ideology or health moral", should not happen so forcefully. Underlying, there is, in contemporaneity, the process of subject's decentering, which shifts its ontological conflictual thickness from the psychological "interiority" to a performative "externality", due to a demand for maximization of body performance in the somatic culture, under the aegis of neoliberal governmentality. This new form of contemporary subjectivation, called "somatic individuality" or "cerebral subject", which emphasizes the neurochemistry of the brain at the expense of beliefs, desires and affections, find, in the techno-scientific products offered by the medical-industrial complex and promoted by the neuroscientific discourse, the elixir for his refusal of the pain of living.

Keywords : Contemporaneity; Medicalization; Health; Decentering; Subject.

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