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Title: Health promotion measures in Iceland : individual responsibility, state intervention and the future of the 'nation'
Author: Di Genova, Serena
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 3889
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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This dissertation presents an analysis of the health promotion measures implemented in Iceland in recent years as a case study of a discourse on multi-level governmentality. I interpret these measures as techniques aiming to fabricate a specific kind of individual, inclined to exert self-surveillance and to act according to the notions and practices of biomedicine. I introduce multinational corporations, supranational authorities and biomedical profession as rival centres of powers, contending nation state's governance supremacy. I situate my investigation within a specific historical and social context. I explore the profound changes in lifestyle experienced by Icelanders in the last few decades with regard to the progressive opening of the country to the global market. I then focus on the role played in Iceland by health care professionals, often considered unable to offer impartial advice in the best interest of the patients. I explain how this negative perception of the biomedical profession obliged political authorities to re-evaluate the nature of health promotion initiatives and of the tactics employed to foster the expected conduct. I stress how frequent appeals to individuals' sense of responsibility not only for their own wellbeing, but for that of society as a whole, have made use of a powerful rhetoric playing on the sense of belonging to the Icelandic community. Hence, I show how Icelandic citizens have often proved compliant with state initiatives and attribute such compliance to government attempts to portray itself as a defender of the common welfare. Although representing a common motif in the history of most western democracies, this protective role undertaken by the state assumes a distinctive symbolic value in Iceland, where it evokes deeply rooted discourses on the need to preserve the political and biological identity of the Icelanders and, with it, the future of the nation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Health promotion