Vol. 43 No. 1 (2023): Vulnerability. Environments and Relations

Vulnerability, Health, and the Medicalization of Life

Francesca Marin
University of Padua

Published 2023-06-01


  • vulnerability,
  • health,
  • determinants of health,
  • medicalization of life,
  • predictive medicine,
  • human enhancement
  • ...More

How to Cite

Vulnerability, Health, and the Medicalization of Life. (2023). Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 43(1), 127-144. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v43i1.176


This article aims to analyze the relationship between vulnerability and health, giving proof of their mutual dependence. Such recognition is useful for two reasons: on the one hand, it highlights the polysemous, dynamic, and relational character of vulnerability and health, avoiding the adoption of reductive, static, and individualistic approaches on these topics. On the other hand, the proposed perspective critically analyzes the model of complete health which is at the origin of the so-called “medicalization of lifeâ€. The medicalization of life means the gradual expansion of medicine over different aspects of human life. This phenomenon considers vulnerability as a merely individual dimension and situates the problem of health at the level of the individual. In this way the determinants of health are underestimated, and the issues related to vulnerability and health are not faced as a dynamic relationship between individual, society, and environment.