On Medicine

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3 Citations (Scopus)


What were to happen if we were to unravel the concept of ‘medicine’ – and with that, writing? And with that, philosophy? In ‘On Medicine’, Kélina Gotman journeys through philosophical concepts of medicine and health, to see where these meet – in Michel Foucault’s terms – the ancient notions of ‘care’. ‘Care of the self’, like ‘truthful’ or ‘fearless speech’, implicated intimately in practices of critique, become devices for rethinking politics and aesthetics – performative entanglements that embroil bodies into histories and histories into ecologies. Unpeeling layer after layer of discursive mythologies – the structuring systems that enable us to see (or believe we see) ‘health’ as distinct from ‘medicine’, ‘science’ as distinct from ‘art’, ‘religion’ as distinct from ‘philosophy’ and more – this performative essay shifts the gaze towards an ethics of research that refuses to parse, or else parses other ways, revealing other geographies and anatomies – other forms of knowing. An-archaeologically, this method offers a way to see ‘performance’ not so much as layered on top of histories of theatre, embodied being, or what have you; but as an epistemic mode that zigzags – refusing the failures of closure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages9
Issue number4-5
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Oct 2018


  • history of medicine
  • philosophy of medicine
  • performance
  • Michel Foucault
  • care
  • writing


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