Science, Technology and the Individualization Process in Preventive Public Health

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 10:15
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Roberto Rubem SILVA-BRANDAO, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
The reflexivity of modernity is characterized by the radicalization of the individualization phenomenon, creating a new mode of socialization. This process produces new political and institutional challenges to public health, which is radically different from those established by previous stages of modernity.

One of the individualization process features is the intensification of scientific and technological production, which is materialized in social relations. For example, our society produces knowledgeable contemporary individuals, as well as, direct consumers of science though it is still dependent on modern and classical structures, such as the modern medicine, in order to validate knowledge and practices. This happens, for instance, on technological production towards prevention of epidemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, while using the Truvada drug to prevent HIV infections, placing an apparent freedom to individuals regarding sexual risk management and health status. However, this is inset that individuals experience the dependence of modern medicine to keep their sex lives 'safe', establishing a reorganization of their everyday lives by the biological, regular surveillance, a precarious freedom.

The momentum´s individualization occurs in its consequences. Given the scientific and technological resources through the medicalization of our bodies, non-expected side effects interfere upon social dynamics: the object becomes subject, science confronts itself and have to deal with unmeasured ecological risks and critique, and consumption produces market-dependence freedom, all of these producing a-historical identities, individuations with diverse ideological and desires apparatus. These are consequences that the reflexivity of modernity provides that clashes against the remaining modern progress placed upon the body, medicine, health and the social fabric.

These complex relations opens up room for reflection on modern institutions such as public health, resizing it, particularly with the imperative colonizer of science and technology over bodies, medicine and individuals, and vice versa.