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Controlling Death: Bio-Power and the Right-to-Die Controversy

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Abstract:

This essay offers a critical rhetoric of bio-power that argues that institutional efforts to limit individuals' control over choice in dying represent a dangerous and damaging attempt to manage the body. Statutes, medical protocols, and legal rules that regulate the right-to-die are analyzed, and subversive alternative readings that question the motives, purposes and implications of policies and regulations regarding death and dying are supplied. It is argued that the state, to the detriment of the individual, has attempted to “normalize” medical procedures and laws designed to establish the supremacy of the state in life and death decisions.

Keywords: Bio-power; Critical Rhetoric; Death; Michel Foucault; Right-to-Die

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14791420500198571

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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