When Bodies Think: Panpsychism, Pluralism, Biopolitics

Article Summary by Brandy Schillace

In today’s preview, we hear from Dr Martin Savransky, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths University of London. His article, which will appear in our June special issue, explores calls for more participatory forms of medicine and healthcare under what might be described as the ’biopolitical problematic.’ Savransky defines this problematic as the divergent encounter between techniques that seek to “take hold” of the body, and a “plurality of living bodies” that respond and challenge and escape its grasp. Critics of ’participatory medicine’ warn that ’participation’ in healthcare functions as a form of biopower seeking access to bodies, and in so doing take a better hold of life. In the upcoming essay, Savransky argues that we ought to experiment and explore what kinds of conceptual toolswhat ways of seeingmight help to make these issues visible. Particuarly, how might we be able to see, to “make perceptible”, the ways in which a plurality of participating bodies are capable of responding, challenging and escaping the very grasp of ‘participation’. Drawing on the work of William James and Alfred North Whitehead, the essay reveals our need to reclaim the proposition that “all things think” as a tool for assessing the ways that thinking bodies may be ‘unruly’ in their participationand what this means for medicine and medical humanities.

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