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As suggested by the book's title, and the series in which it was published, Guantanamo and Other Cases of Enforced Medical Treatment—A Biopolitical Analysis1 is a collection of self-standing chapters that focus on a number of controversial cases in which the notions of competence and autonomy have been used to justify enforced medical treatment (or its absence) of individuals in relatively similar circumstances in the US, the UK and Italy. Some of the content of the book was previously published as individual articles,2 ,3 but juxtaposing the cases in the structure of the book affords the possibility of understanding the similarities and the differences between those cases through common biopolitical lenses and why that is so.
In the first chapter, I take into account standard versions of the notion of autonomy, stressing their interconnection with other relevant notions such as competence and biopolitics. After a brief historical analysis of autonomy within the Western tradition, I present a number of cases pertaining to the field of biomedicine that are charged with political issues. By stressing on the inconsistency in the application of the notion of autonomy to cases of enforced (or refused) medical treatment depending on …
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