Forskergruppen Helse-, velferd- og vitenskapshistorie

Nordic research network for medical history

Welcome to the Nordic research network for medical history: agendas of health and medical history (Norden/NordForsk).


The network focuses on central aspects of the history of public health and medicine circumscribed by five key concepts: Medicalization, bio-politics, health citizenship, governmentality and historicization.

1. Medicalization: To what extent can ”medicalization” be used to describe the social role of Western medicine after c. 1850; does the concept vary in content and explanatory power according to circumstances?

2. Bio-politics: Is ”bio-politics” a meaningful concept; in which areas is it appropriate and what methodological guidance does it contribute?

3. Health Citizenship: Is ”health citizenship” a fruitful analytical tool to understand the development of individual and collective rights and duties in the areas of public health and medical services; to what extent does this concept bring out the societal interrelatedness of health and medical history?

4. Governmentality: What is the relationship of ”governmentality” to the concepts just mentioned; what theoretical and methodological tools enable an understanding of “un-governability” – the resistance to being governed by science and politics?

5. Historicization: How can medicine and health be ”historicized”; what are the benefits of a systematic historicization of diseases, laboratory results, medical technology, and the like; what problems does such a theoretical and methodological approach present?