Mission, medicine, and power: A Foucauldean perspective

  • D Van den Bosch University of the Free State
Keywords: Missionary medicine, Healing, Power, Foucault, HIV/AIDS


For mainline church and theology, the awareness of underlying power structuresis of relevance when developing and evaluating theological constructions of health, illness, and healing. This article aims at raising this awareness by way of interdisciplinary research. A Foucauldean frame of reference is applied to the missionary medicine paradigm in order to reveal structures of power as social and religious control hidden in missionary medicine’s health constructions and therapeutic practices. The Foucauldean interpretation of the relationship of mission, medicine, and power might very well function as a steppingstone in the development and evaluation of theological articulations of health, illness, and healing in the African context.

Author Biography

D Van den Bosch, University of the Free State
Research Fellow, Department Dogmatology, Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State