A Critique of Pandemic Reason: Towards a Syndemic Noso-Politics


  • Jorge Vélez Vega Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Ricardo Noguera-Solano Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México




SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, noso-politics, Pandemic, Evolution, Syndemic


The main objective of this article is to provide a critique of the pandemic strategy suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) and implemented by various countries from March 2020 onwards in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. Based on the theories of Michel Foucault, this critique aims to show that, in the first instance, the pandemic may be understood in terms of the art of governing human beings at the point of interaction between politics and medicine; secondly, in Foucauldian terminology, such interaction may be referred to as ‘noso-politics’, that is, a mechanism used to control the body of the population via authoritarian measures exercised in the name of the health of the population; thirdly, such a mechanism exercises its power by invoking a mechanistic truth about the SARS-CoV-2 virus which may be countered by an argument that takes a historical perspective on the virus; fourthly, the pandemic strategy may be opposed by a syndemic approach that takes into account interactions between emerging diseases such as COVID-19 and non-communicable illnesses, as well as the biological and socio-economic conditions that the well-being of the population depends on. In short, by providing a critique of the politics of truth about the pandemic, the virus, and health measures, the article aims to encourage a critical attitude that will challenge both the authorities and the truth they invoke to prevent the pandemic strategy being used as a mechanism for governing, given the predictions of the recurrent emergence of new viruses.

Author Biographies

Jorge Vélez Vega, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Dr Jorge Vélez Vega is a postdoctoral student at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and is developing a research project entitled “Bio-techno-genesis: anthropogenesis, biotechnologies and posthumanism”, at the Department of Evolutionary Biology (Faculty of Sciences). The main areas of study and analysis include the link between biopolitical rationality and technologies; the effects of sciences and techniques with/in life; the biological threshold of modernity and its relationship with the biopoetics of regeneration, and, among other topics, the intimacy between the inhuman, human, and posthuman dimensions.

Ricardo Noguera-Solano, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Dr Ricardo Noguera-Solano is a History and Philosophy of Biology Professor at the Faculty of Sciences, UNAM (Mexico). His research focuses on the History of the ideas of evolution and inheritance in the 19th and 20th centuries, Darwinism, Lamarckism, and the Human Genome Project, and his research has appeared in, among others, the Journal of the History of Biology, Science and Education, Endeavour, Metatheoria.


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How to Cite

Vélez Vega, J., & Noguera-Solano, R. (2023). A Critique of Pandemic Reason: Towards a Syndemic Noso-Politics. Foucault Studies, (35), 122–147. https://doi.org/10.22439/fs.i35.7087



Special Issue: Biopolitical Tensions after Pandemic Times