An anthropological analysis of European Union (EU) health governance as biopolitics: The case of the EU tissues and cells directive
- Social Science & Medicine
Author/s: -Hoeyer, Klaus
Journal: Social Science & Medicine
Healthcare in Europe is increasingly influenced by European Union (EU) regulation enacted to harmonise heterogeneous practices through common safety standards. In many instances directives on safety issues evade public debate because they are seen as merely ‘technical matters’. In this paper I analyse the implications at a national level in Denmark of one such piece of legislation: the EU Tissues and Cells Directive. The analysis is based on participant observation, interviews and document analysis conducted in the period from May 2007 to June 2009. I follow translations of the Directive from the level of the EU text into national legislation and further into everyday practices. From a biopolitical perspective, I explore the implications of this so-called technical directive that appear necessary for policymakers and yet remain strangely detached from the everyday experiences of people for whom and on whom it is supposed to work. The Directive has serious implications for the allocation of funds, for patients and for healthcare professionals. These implications need to be discussed. Even more basically, the analysis points to a need for discussing what makes so-called technical directives necessary. This article is intended to facilitate this type of debate.