Bodies or organisms? Medical encounter as a control apparatus at a primary care centre in barcelona

Alejandro Zaballos Samper, Mcármen Peñaranda-Cólera

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Medical practice is driven by technology, discourses, and knowledge about health and illness. This has resulted in its gaining a dominating position in power relations achieved by means of diagnosis, medicalization, habit and conduct creation and maintenance. Interaction at primary care centres is built on mainstream biomedical views of both the medical discourse and the social practices related to health, illness and the human body. Moreover, it is also rooted on the ideologies conveyed by those social concepts, which in turn, permeate interaction all through with power relations. The present paper takes ethnographic data and in-depth interviews as a departing point to analyse how diagnosis, medicalization, and biopolitic strategies for health prevention and improvement carried out in primary care centres in Barcelona make up a control apparatus. Furthermore, this essay also explores how the apparatus is developed in the medical encounter and turns the body into an organism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-101
JournalAthenea Digital: Revista de Pensamiento e Investigacion Social
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Control apparatus
  • Medical encounter
  • Primary health care
  • Qualitative methodologies


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