Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights and the New War on the Poor

Pathologies of Power uses harrowing stories of life—and death—in extreme situations to interrogate our understanding of human rights. Paul Farmer, a psychiatris and anthropologist with twenty years of experience working in Haiti, Peru, and Russia, argues that promoting the social and economic ights of the world ’ s poor is the most important human rights struggle of our times. With passionate eyewitness accounts from the prisons of Russia and the beleaguered villages of Haiti and Chiapas, this book links the lived experiences of individual victims to a broader analysis of structural violence. Farmer challenges conventional thinking within human rights circles and exposes the relationships between political and economic injustice, on one hand, and the exhaustio and illness of the powerless, on the other.

Farmer shows that the same social forces that give rise to epidemic diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis also sculpt risk for human rights violations. He summarize the ways that racism and gender inequality in the United States are embodied as disease and death. Yet th ook is far from a hopeless inventory of abuse. Farmer ’ s disturbing examples are linked to a guarded optimism that new medical and social technologies will develop in tandem with a more informed sense of social justice. Indee, he believes, we would be guilty of managing social inequality rather than addressing structural violence. Farmer ’ s urgent plea to think about human rights in the ontext of global public health and to consider critical issues of quality and access for the world ’ s poor should be of fundamental concern to a world characterized by the bizarre proximity of surfeit and suffering.
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Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights and the New War on the Poor
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Published November 22nd 2004 by University of California Press (first published 2003

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In Pathologies of Power he talks about " structured violence " against the poor around the world and he points out that the lack of social and economic justice which is a form of violence ( denying access to jobs, food, and psychiatri care) and that what happens to the poor is not random.I ca n't elieve I started reading his nove and the earthquake in Haiti happened a week later.

At the nd of that book Farmer summarizes a new agenda for health AND human rights with 6 points: 1) Make health and healing the symbolic core of the agenda ( not profits), 2) Make provision of services central to the agenda ( for the poor), 3) Establish new research agendas ( to make drugs and other therapies cheaper), 4) Assume a broader educational mandate ( beyond health professionals), 5) Achieve independence from powerful governments and bureaucracies ( that are so often human rights violators), and 6) Secure more resources for health and human rights ( social and economic justice).

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" Pathologies of Power " is a very important resource for those seeking to understand and morally diagnose the obscene global inequalities in health.

Dr. Paul Farmer is an intimate witness to the suffering and struggle of the global poor and neglected.

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“ Li mouri bet, ” Paul bemoans in Creole at the death of talente an from an infection, “ what a stupid death. ” The poor live Hobbesian lives—nasty, brutish, and short—partially because of our market-based approach to medicine in which health is the exclusive privilege of those wealthy enough to afford it.

Complacent in the charity model of health care, the global heath community timidly seeks only to provide the low quality care afforded by the castoffs of the rich rather than call into question the structural violence that keeps the poor in poverty.Drawing heavily from liberation theology, Paul argues for a reorientation of societal values toward the preferential option for the poor.

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( Once, I do n't listen, but an eloquent essay that referenced this book will be how it ended up on my reading list.) Of course, I am someone willing to agre that healthcare is a human right, and thoug the structural inequities need to be fixed.

aybe it just has n't aged well.Because of the points mentioned, every time the author mentioned being an anthropologist ( as well as a doctor), I kept flashing back to very colorful criticisms of anthropologists that I have read from Native American authors.Still, Brecht seems great.

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FARMER IN THE FIELDS OF HORROR AND HOPEI have known of Paul Farmer for years, principally through footnotes in his fellow Bostonian Noam Chomsky 's books ( whom Farmer thanks in his acknowledgements to this book) and in a multitude of other books and articles over the decades, and I fel it was about time that I became better acquainted with his writings and managed to et my hands on a copy of his 2004 book " Pathologies of Power " .Farmer 's basic aim in th memoi is to argue for a working definition of Human Rights that includes those social justice: in general those social and economic rights which articles 22-27 of the UN Declarations of Human Rights ( 1948) describe.

In Russia Farmer visits prisons, including those where prisoners with Tuberculosis are isolated, with completely inadequate treatment, looking to set up a partnership with the Russian Department of Justice in order to allo the best and most effective care for those who are being left to die in Russia 's massive prison system ( second in size per capita to that of the United States) .In the second part of he book entitled " One Physician 's Perspective on Human Rights " Farmer reflects on the experiences he describes in the las part, including a definition of what he terms " structural violence " ( in short, a form of violence where some social structure or social institution harms people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs) and an exploration of the principles of Liberation Theology with its preference for looking out for the poor and impoverished.

It ertainly is difficult to argue that thi uthor of this remarkabl book, finely written and offering a deep stud and profound critique of the oncept of Human Rights, as ell as making a strong case for their definition to include Social and Economic Rights, would act other than for the poor.

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