A vitally human medical geography? Introducing Georges Canguilhem to geographers

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This paper discusses Georges Canguilhem (1904–95), a French historian of science and medicine, tracing themes in his work of normality, pathology and the situated bases of medical decision-making. His conception of the normal and the pathological prompts reconsideration of the move from medical to health geography, suggesting value in a ‘return’ to the former. His ideas embrace openness to vitalism, a focus on the processes of life that anticipates recent attempts to engage with ‘lively’ (post-human) geographies. His dialogue between vitalism and humanism, with reference to the ‘felt’ unwellness of the sick person, signals a path towards a vitally human medical geography.

Keywords: Georges Canguilhem; health geography; medical geography; normality; pathology; vitalism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-7939.2007.00095.x

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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