Feminist Existentialism, Biopolitics, and Critical Phenomenology in a Time of Bad Health  book cover
1st Edition

Feminist Existentialism, Biopolitics, and Critical Phenomenology in a Time of Bad Health

ISBN 9780367768188
Published October 29, 2021 by Routledge
200 Pages

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Book Description

This book explores the personal value of healthy behavior, arguing that our modern tendency to praise or blame individuals for their health is politically and economically motivated and has reinforced growing health disparities between the wealthy and poor under the guise of individual responsibility.

We are awash in concerns about the state of our health and recommendations about how to improve it from medical professionals, public health experts, and the diet-exercise-wellness industry. The idea that health is about wellness and not just preventing illness becomes increasingly widespread as we find out how various modifiable behaviors, such as smoking or our diets, impact our health. In a critical examination of health, we find that alongside the move toward wellness as a state that the individual is responsible to in part produce, there is a roll-back of public programs. This book explores how this "good health imperative" is not as apolitical as one might assume. The more the individual is the locus of health, the less structural and historical issues that create health disparities are considered. Feminist Existentialism, Biopolitics, and Critical Phenomenology in a Time of Bad Health’s charts the impact of the increasing shift to a model of individual responsibility for one’s health. It will benefit readers who are interested to think critically about normalization to produce "healthy bodies." In addition, this book will benefit readers who understand the value of personal health, but are wary of the ways in which health can be used as a tool to discriminate and fuel inequalities in health care access.

This volume is primarily of interest to academics, students, public health and medical professionals, and readers who are interested in critically examining health from philosophical perspective in order to understand how we can celebrate the value of healthy behavior without reinforcing discrimination. 

The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Table of Contents



Chapter One

The Good Health Imperative

Chapter Two

A Critical Phenomenology of Health and Illness

Chapter Three

Feminist Phenomenologies and Self-Regulating Bodies

Chapter Four

Biopolitics and Personal Responsibility

Chapter Five

Marxism, Reproductive Labor, and the Body as Fetish Object

Chapter Six

Alternative Visions of Health-Somaesthetics and Innumerable Healths

Chapter Seven

Toward an Existential Ethics of Working on the Self


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Talia Welsh is UTAA Distinguished Service Professor & UC Foundation Professor of Philosophy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, USA. She is the translator of Child Psychology & Pedagogy: Maurice Merleau-Ponty at the Sorbonne and the author of The Child as Natural Phenomenologist: Primal and Primary Experience in Merleau-Ponty’s Psychology.