Stultitia and type 2 diabetes: the madness of not wanting to care for the self

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This paper explores the condition of stultitia, which is described by Michel Foucault in The Hermeneutics of the Subject as a condition one is in, before having started to care for the self. The purpose is to shed light on one of the paradoxes of patient education by introducing and elaborating an aspect of Foucault's literary activities, which has not, to my knowledge, been investigated empirically before. To illustrate this condition, the paper targets the relation between type 2 diabetes, contemporary norms of healthy living, diabetes education, and the situation that sometimes occurs when individuals are not capable of, or motivated to, taking care of themselves. It specifically targets a situation, which is both incomprehensible to health professionals and patients alike; when patients desire a healthy life, but at the same time do not pursue it according to the recommendations. Thus, it is a condition of madness, which is investigated; madness in the sense that patients have internalised a rationality, against which their own behaviour rebels.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFoucault Studies
Issue number16
Pages (from-to)154-174
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Care of the self
  • Diabetes education
  • Foucault
  • Health
  • Lifestyle
  • Madness
  • Stultitia


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