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Beyond biomedicine: new regimes of health and wellness 
Heidi Härkönen (University of Helsinki)
Niko Besnier (La Trobe University)
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Wednesday 24 July, -, -, Thursday 25 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

In the contemporary world, people seek to maintain their health and wellness in various ways that go beyond biomedicine. This panel explores emerging understandings of health and wellness regimes, aiming to analyse the new ideas of bodies and politics that are potentially created in such processes

Long Abstract:

People have always searched for ways to maintain their health and wellbeing outside of biomedicine, but the neoliberal retrenchment of healthcare in the last forty years and the Covid pandemic have each become the context of an explosion of new health ideologies and practices throughout the world. From the spectacular commodification of “wellness” to the explosion of fitness regimes and the revival of home remedies, these new forms have transformed how people think about the body and health in reference to the radical transformations that the economy, technology, politics, social formations, and cultural dynamics have undergone throughout the world in the last few decades. How do we contextualize, the circulation of ideologies and practices relating to health and bodies across multiple media (visual, oral, digital), acquiring in the process new forms of politics, spanning from conspiracy theories to environmental activism? This panel welcomes contributions that frame ideologies and practices relating to health and bodies in a critical context that eschews both vilification and celebration, but instead engages with what drives people to do what they do. We are particularly interested in global flows, such as the emergence of fitness and wellness regimes in new cultural contexts, novel ideas of health, the appropriation of “traditional” practices by new agents, and the political questions that emerge from these flows. How can we understand what has become of the body in uncertain times by examining health maintenance outside of orthodox biomedicine?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -
Session 2 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -
Session 3 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -