The transformation of bodily normativity

Previously, one might suggest, the role of medicine was not to transform human capacities but to restore a lost normativity. The body had its natural norms, illness was a loss of those norms, and medical intervention sought to restore those norms or to mimic them in some way. The hope was that, with a cured or at least treated body and mind, the individual might be able to live out his or her natural life in something like a normal manner. But these norms no longer seem so normalizing, these normativities appear in principle open to conscious manipulation, and new norms created by biomedical artifice are already a reality … Some of the normativities once considered to be inscribed in the laws of organic life itself have already moved, at least in the wealthy West, into the field of choice, and are laden with all the demands that choice imposes. It has become possible for individuals to think of their embodied selves as open to modification in new ways and hence to acquire further obligations for the responsible self-management of their biological and somatic existence.

Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Pg 81

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