Racialization, between power and knowledge: a postcolonial reading of public health as a discursive practice

Patrick Cloos


This paper presents and discusses the interdisciplinary theoretical perspective that has been built from a doctoral research on contemporary notions of ̒ race ̓ in the field of public health in the United States. In this context, ̒ race ̓ was seen as an object that emerged from the discourse, lying between power and knowledge as suggested by Foucault, while public health is an apparatus that put the discourse and the formation of the object into operation. Some authors in the field of postcolonial studies emphasize the representational power associated with the discourse that corresponds to a system of opposition and difference creating a dichotomy and ensuring the domination of some over others. This article argues that ̒ race ̓, as an idea of difference, will persist as long as historical conditions and people allow it.


race; racialization; postcolonial; public health; united states

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