Accepted paper:

Metaphorical warfare and the biopolitics of cancer in the US

Authors:

Anastasia Karakasidou (Wellesley College)

Paper short abstract:

Biomedical science promises to free humans from the fetters of a primitive fear of cancer through modern diagnostics and therapies. The vulnerable cancerous body undergoes a process of discipline and compliance that renders the model modern American cancer patient ever more dependent upon biomedicine.

Paper long abstract:

Modern biomedical science promises to free humans from the fetters of the primitive fear of cancer through modern diagnostics and therapies. In the process, the vulnerable cancerous body undergoes its own process of discipline and compliance that render the model modern American cancer patient ever more dependent upon biomedicine. This paper examines how the sovergneity of the individual patient is rendered marginal by the biomedical morality that wages the warfare against cancer. The search for a cure and the submission of human bodies in this warfare, is analyzed in this paper as part of the biopolitical state's project of managing the "bare" life of its citizens. And here lies the paradox of the biopolitcs of cancer: rather than managing the causality of carcinogenesis, the biopolitical state situates cancer on the individual body that fights its own war against the disease, accomplishing thus its own legitimation,

panel W027
Anthropological perspectives on biopolitics and sovereignty in Europe and the world