The Vitality of Disease

  • Ayo Wahlberg


In recent decades, social scientists have carried out empirical studies in the laboratories, clinics and patient associations within and through which biological knowledge, biomedical practice, biosocialities and biological citizens are being co-produced. In this chapter, I sketch a novel analytics of what we might be conceptualised as the vitality of disease. Medical interventions are increasingly as much about improving (quality of) life as they are about saving and prolonging life. As a consequence, morbid living has come to be disciplined, for example, in patient schools aimed at teaching patients to learn how to live with their disease, through rating scales used to measure treatment effect on the ‘quality of life’ of patients in clinical trials and through disease-specific ‘Living with’ guides aimed at patients and carers.



I would like to thank the editors for comments which have improved this chapter considerably. The chapter was prepared within the framework of the European Research Council grant ‘The Vitality of Disease—Quality of Life in the Making’ (Grant no. 639275).


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ayo Wahlberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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