We are delighted to announce that Dr Janina Kehr from the University of Zurich will be our next guest speaker for the SSHM research seminar series. Dr Kehr will give a talk titled “Biopolitical Nostalgia in Times of Austerity”.
When: 30 April 2014, 12.00-13.30
Where: Room K0.16, King’s College Strand Campus
Dr Janina Kehr will talk about her research in progress, which looks at what one could term nostalgia for state-funded medicine and public health – or “biopolitical nostalgia” – through an analysis of the discourses and practices of economists, epidemiologists and different social collectives protesting against privatisation, politics of austerity and budget cuts in the health care sector since the beginning of the current economic crisis in Europe. In following ethnographically professional and citizens’ movements against the recent transformations of the NHS in the UK and Spain, Dr Kehr’s project proposes to analyse the contemporary visions of state funded national health systems “from below”, that is from patients and medical professionals’ perspective acting jointly as citizens. On a more general level, the project intends to shed new light on the longue durée of European biopolitics, in investigating how two national public health systems, the UK in the North and Spain in the South of Europe, have progressively been interiorised by its population and are defended by its citizens in times of crisis, being part of their social and political identity. In crafting the notion of “biopolitical nostalgia”, Dr Kehr intends to flash out how the emotional attachment to a “phantasmatic” view of healthcare in the past structures citizens’ identities and motivates their political action in the present.