The medicalisation of politics or the politicisation of pedicine: the case of italian struggles to design public healthcare institutions


  • Valeria Graziano
  • Maddalena Fragnito



Healthcare politics, Critical Medicine, Italian National Health Service (SSN), Medicina Democratica


In the present article, we reflect on some key aspects for the design of pub­lic health systems by retracing the history of the Italian National Health Service, or Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), from its inception to the present days, analysing how a series of subsequent reforms and counter-reforms impacted its functions and services. Our reflection is based on a collective interview with Fulvio Aurora, Paolo Fierro and Edoardo Turri, three members of Medicina Democratica, which has been and continues to be one of the key organizations in the struggles for keeping health a public value in Italy. While our standpoint on the issue of health is geographically situated, we believe that an analysis of the Italian healthcare sector, with its success­es and its failures, can offer important points of departures for identifying some key characteristics to shape contemporary approaches to healthcare design that can be translocal and cosmopolitan in their application.


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Author Biographies

Valeria Graziano

Theorist, organizer, and educator, currently a Research Asso­ciate at the Centre for Postdigital Cultu­res, Coventry University. She held BA in Fine Art and Art History (Goldsmiths Col­lege); MA in Visual Cultures (Goldsmiths College) and a Ph.D. in Critical Manage­ment Studies (Queen Mary University); Visiting Fellow at DCRL (Digital Cultures Research Lab) Leuphana University (DE) and at the John Hope Franklin Center, Duke University (USA). Her research focuses on cultural practices that foster a creative redistribution of social repro­duction, the refusal of work, and the po­liticization of pleasure. She is one of the convenors of Pirate Care (https://pirate. care), a research process focusing on col­lective learning and disobedient respon­ses to the current care crisis (2018- pre­sent).

Maddalena Fragnito

Cultural acti­vist exploring the intersections between art, transfeminisms and technologies by focusing on practices of “commoning care”. At the moment she is a Doctoral Student at Coventry University’s Centre for Postdigital Cultures.


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How to Cite

Graziano, V., & Fragnito, M. (2021). The medicalisation of politics or the politicisation of pedicine: the case of italian struggles to design public healthcare institutions. DAT Journal, 6(2), 75–94.