Introduction: Patient organization movements and new metamorphoses in patienthood
In this introduction, we examine health activism as one expression of an emergent 'politics of vitality' or flurry of activity around health matters that includes: advances in technoscientific medicine, healthcare restructurings, and a re-thinking of science-society contracts. In querying politicized mobilizations around 'health matters and the mattering of health,' we provocatively entitle our discussion 'patient organization movements'. This marks an invitation to interrogate (in reverse order) each term along the way, pausing in our concluding discussion to turn our attentions to the patient. The figure of the patient is thematized as an historical inscription and a formidable dimension of personhood under modernity/late modernity. Moreover, we argue that conventional categorizations of the patient are undergoing accelerated processes of change at the present time. We characterize three transformational trends: moves to author and authorize patienthood, mutiny from patienthood, and mutations in the category of the patient. Such metamorphoses in patienthood represent both reflections and repercussions--at once consequences and catalysts--of the proposed politics of vitality. We explore the pluralization of the patient's persona via a closer look at the 11 empirical studies of health activism that comprise this collection.
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Volume (Year): 62 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (February)
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