From Sub- to Super-Citizenship: Sex Hormones and the Body Politic in Brazil

Article English OPEN
Sanabria, Emilia (2011)
  • Publisher: HAL CCSD
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1080/00141844.2010.544393
  • Subject: biopolitics | inequality | Brazil | sex hormones | [ SHS.ANTHRO-SE ] Humanities and Social Sciences/Social Anthropology and ethnology | pharmaceuticals | [SHS.ANTHRO-SE] Humanities and Social Sciences/Social Anthropology and ethnology | contraception

International audience; Sex hormones in Brazil are mobilised as modes of regulatory control and to discipline subjectivites. Their packaging effectively differentiates between two forms of citizenship. The first, available to those with private health, is founded on notions of personal autonomy, individual choice and self-enhancement, while the second frames decisions in terms of the individual’s moral responsibility to the wider collectivity. Here, technical and biomedical interventions on middle-class bodies have personalising tendencies, while those effected on the bodies of the urban poor can be read as modes of inclusion through standardisation. Personalisation, in the Brazilian sense, concerns the attribution of privileges which place a person above the undifferentiated mass of individuals. The paper critically engages with approaches to bio-citizenships developed in contexts where biological inclusion is predicated on patient activism and shows how, in Brazil, complying with medical regimes is an integral part of constituting oneself as a citizen
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