The Anatomy of Power: European Constructions of the African Body / Edition 1

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‘It is difficult to identify a single example of a colonial or post-colonial society in which the public health official, the primary health care nurse, the hospital doctor, the psychiatrist, and many other representatives of the socio-medical sciences are not present. It is equally impossible to identify any setting where the population has no knowledge of how to act and react in the ritual of the medical examination by doctor, inspection by the aid worker, interrogation by the anthropologist, or enumeration by the census officer,‘ writes Alex Butchart.

Using Foucault‘s thinking on the relationship between power and knowledge, the author of this extraordinary book analyzes the ways in which the body of ‘The African‘ has itself been analyzed in western thought from the Renaissance to the present. The book not only provides a critical edge to debates around colonialism and African identity, it is also an invaluable new reservoir of source materials for scholars with a passion for knowing the body politic and its anatomy of power.

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Editorial Reviews

Drawing from Foucault's thinking on the relationship between power and knowledge, analyzes how western thought has analyzed the body of The African from the Renaissance to the present. Challenging conventional views that the repressive practices of colonial European occupation disfigured a pre-existing known identity, argues that socio-medical technologies were and are the creative agent of social control and actively invest the African body, mind, and society as objects amenable to analysis and domination. Paper edition (unseen) $22.50. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781856495400
  • Publisher: Zed Books
  • Publication date: 5/15/1998
  • Series: Anatomy of Power Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Butchart is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of South Africa.

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Table of Contents

1. The African body in history and histories of the African body.
2. Power, knowledge and the body.
3. Renaissance body myths and the spectacle of strangeness.
4. A body without volume: the African as target of sovereignty and object of taxonomy.
5. Missionary medicine, moral sanitation and fabrication of the heathen heart.
6. The industrial panopticon: mining and the medical construction of migrant African labour.
7. Discipline and danger: psychological science and the African personality.
8. Filth, food and freedom: public health and its changing African objects.
9. Birth of the Bantu Clinic.
10 . Postscript: on the anatomy of power.
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