Recovery From Heart Attack, Biomedicalization, and the Production of a Contingent Health Citizenship

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Abstract

In this article, I explore the experience of recovery from a heart attack through an analytic autoethnography. I discuss the tensions inherent in biomedical subjectivities of health and ill-health during cardiac recovery through three key themes: (a) the transfer of responsibility and becoming a subject “at risk,” (b) technologies of biomedicine and the disciplining of subjectivities, and (c) the transformation of a body toward a new pharmaceuticalized bodily normal. Through an analysis driven by the biomedicalization thesis of Clarke, alongside work on biopower and the governmentality of health by Foucault, Rose, and Rabinow, I seek to provide new insights into the process of cardiac recovery and the relationship between individual experience and broader socio-political processes. Key to this analysis is a focus on the contingent subjectivities brought into being through biomedicalization that constitute a new form of health citizenship that is otherwise not accounted for in narratives of recovery.

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