• The Medicalisation of Politics or the Politicisation of Medicine: The Case of Italian Struggles to Design Public Healthcare Institutions.

    Maddalena Fragnito, Valeria Graziano (see profile)
    Medical Humanities
    Public health, Critical theory, History, Medical policy
    Item Type:
    Ethics of care, Critical public health, history of public health, Health policy
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    The article follows the contours of a conversation with Fulvio Aurora, Paolo Fierro and Edoardo Turri, three members of the Italian health activist organization Medicina Democratica, which will also function as the backbone of our account of the initial radical impetus and the later demise of the Italian public health system, the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale or SSN. Through the focus on the Italian context, we wish to address a set of broader and interrelated questions around the design of public healthcare services and the scale of political agency which can be significant today across a number of struggles. When reasoning around issues of health, and seeking for definitions that complexify this concept beyond a mere ensemble of optimal bodily functionality, the Italian context offers an effective standpoint. Not only because it was the first place where the pandemic spread beyond its original outbreak in the Chinese province of Wuhan, but also because in the Seventies this country has been a very important laboratory of political practices that contributed significantly to shape international debates and political imaginaries around healthcare practices. For example, one might recall the importance of Franco Basaglia's work for the so-called “anti-psychiatry” revolution; the invention of the consultori (a network of self-managed reproductive healthcare centres), operated by the feminist movement, which later become part of the national healthcare system; and finally, the method of the workers’ self-inquiry introduced by activists such as Ivar Oddone and Giulio Maccacaro to launch important investigations into the toxicity of industrial plants, which were influential beyond the Italian borders.
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago


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