Normality and Pathology in a Biological Age

  • Nicolas Rose


The article is the text of a lecture given at the Faculty of the Humanities, March 2001. It argues that one implication of recent advances in the sciences of life may be that the binary opposition of the normal and the pathological is put into question. Canguilheim’s distinction between vital and social norms is challenged and superseded by a Foucauldian genealogical approach to programs for the government of individuals, and the norms of life that emerged in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are argued to be fundamentally social. Viewing genetics, biopsychiatry, and the commercialisation of drug development and biomedicine, the author argues that the logic of normalisation is loosing its hold, and being replaced by strategies for the continuous molecular management of variation, the modulation of susceptibilities, and the capitalisation of life itself.

Author Biography

Nicolas Rose
Studie- og forskningsservice, Fagreferent
How to Cite
Rose, N. (1). Normality and Pathology in a Biological Age. Outlines. Critical Practice Studies, 3(1), 19-33. Retrieved from