Furedi, an English sociologist, discusses medicalization, the ‘normalization of illness’ (we are all seen now as being potentially ill), the growing use of the language of illness and health to make sense of increasingly ambiguous human experience, and the politicization of health (politicians’ growing preoccupation with healthcare and the healthcare crisis, which I think stems largely from the growing political power of the pharmaceutical industry and its stranglehold over healthcare). His summary theme is the interesting, and telling, point (with which I agree) that the normalization of illness is a cultural fact. Proeccupation with health, and the fact that more and more of us are thinking of ourselves as sick, sicker, and sicker for longer, is the real source of the healthcare crisis, and it is not going to be solved in the public policy sphere.
“We live in a world where illnesses are on the increase. The distinguishing feature of the twenty-first century is that health has become a dominant issue, both in our personal lives and in public life. It has become a highly politicised issue, too, and an increasingly important site of government intervention and policymaking. With every year that passes, we seem to spend more and more time and resources thinking about health and sickness. I think there are four possible reasons for this…” (spiked)