The ante-tempus novel : prevention and patienthood in recent speculative fiction

Liorsi, Benedetta (2019) The ante-tempus novel : prevention and patienthood in recent speculative fiction. Textual Practice, 33 (6). pp. 983-1003. ISSN 0950-236X

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This article introduces a new medical subjectivity generated by the drive towards prevention that increasingly organises the discourses and practices of medicine, as well as war, state security and economy. The ante-tempus patient is the subjectivity emerging at a moment in time in which medical advances and interventions are shaping the present according to future needs, in order to face anticipated threats to human health. Contemporary science fiction offers a fertile ground for investigating this, as well as the resulting anxieties about mass-medicalisation. The first part of the article explores the concept of preventative mass-medicalisation and the exploitation and harvesting of ‘health’ in neoliberal societies. In the second part, the speculative novel The Unit [Ninni Holmqvist, trans. Marlaine Delargy (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, [2006] 2010)] exemplifies and contextualises the key features of ante-tempus patienthood. This medical subjectivity embodied by the novel’s main characters represents the outcome of the attempt to create a medical utopia. In this society of medical management, biological exploitation, forced medicalisation and self-sacrifice merge with neoliberal ideology, casting the discourse of preventative medicine in dystopian terms.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Textual Practice
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Textual Practice on 23/08/2017, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? ante-tempus patienthoodmedical futurologypreventionscience fictionmedicalisationliterature and literary theory ??
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Deposited On:
10 Oct 2017 12:12
Last Modified:
19 Jul 2024 00:30