Patient-citizen-consumers: Judicialization of health and metamorphosis of biopolitics

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    12 Scopus citations


    Situated at the meeting points of Law and Medicine, the "judicialization of the right to health" is a contested and hotly debated phenomenon in Brazil. While government officials and some scholars argue that it is driven by urban elites and private interests, and used primarily to access high-cost drugs, empirical evidence refute narratives depicting judicialization as a harbinger of inequity and an antagonist of the public health system. This article's quantitative and ethnographic analysis suggests, instead, that low- -income people are working through the available legal mechanisms to claim access to medical technologies and care, turning the Judiciary into a critical site of biopolitics from below. These patient-citizen-consumers are no longer waiting for medical technologies to trickle down, and judicialization has become a key instrument to hold the State accountable for workable infrastructures.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)77-105
    Number of pages29
    JournalLua Nova
    Issue number98
    StatePublished - 2016

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Sociology and Political Science


    • Biopolitics from below
    • Critical global health
    • Judicialization of health
    • Patient-Citizen-Consumers
    • Pharmaceuticalization
    • State accountability
    • Workable infrastructures


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