Governmentality in health care

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The chapter discusses how Foucauldian concepts, particularly governmentality, explain
recent developments in health care management and organization. It first introduces
Foucault's key ideas, including knowledge/power, disciplinary power, pastoral power,
technologies of the self, and governmentality, and their application in management and organizational studies generally. The latter half of the chapter focuses on Foucauldian management and organizational studies specifically in health care. It discusses neo-liberal governmental reforms, including decentralized network governance, evidence-based and quality improvement initiatives, which blurred boundaries between government and professionals who are both subjects and agents of governmentality. The chapter considers emergent governmentalities arising from new digital technologies and artificial intelligence in health care. Finally, the chapter reviews studies of governmentality specifically in health systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and the Global South, and outlines opportunities for future Foucauldian management and organizational studies in health care.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Healthcare Innovation
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024


  • Foucault
  • governmentality
  • knowledge/power
  • disciplinary power
  • pastoral power
  • governance
  • identity
  • professionals
  • health care networks


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