The critical (micro) political economy of health: a more-than-human approach

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The critical political economy of health offers different explanations for the social causes of health and the social factors determining the distribution of these causes. However, the relational, post-anthropocentric and monist ontology of the new materialisms overcomes this complexity, while retaining a critical focus. In this perspective, the social, economic and political relations of capitalism act upon bodies and other matter in everyday events, rather than as ‘social structures’. Using a conceptual toolkit of ‘affect’, ‘assemblage’, ‘capacity’ and ‘micropolitics’, the paper asks the question: ‘what does capitalism do?’ The re-analysis of the social and economic relations of capitalism in terms of a production-assemblage and a market-assemblage reveals not only the workings of capitalist accumulation, but also how previously-unremarked more-than-human affects in these assemblages simultaneously produce uncertainty, waste and inequalities. This micropolitical economy of health is illustrated with examples from recent research, including a critical assessment of health inequalities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-39
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


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