First Advisor

Tina Burdsall

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Sociology and University Honors






Medical care -- Political aspects, Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) -- Political and social views, Power (Philosophy), Imperialism, Prisoners -- Medical care




This paper applies the theoretical work of Frantz Fanon to discuss healthcare as an institution that upholds the will of the dominant authority in the contemporary United States. The use of Fanon's work outside of its original context is justified by applying the internal colonialism theory. Correctional healthcare is discussed as an area of overtly controlling and dehumanizing medical care, highlighting caregiver loyalty to correctional authority and reciprocal distrust between prison physicians and patients. This inquiry proposes that clinical healthcare displays the same power relationships through loyalty to the business of healthcare and the reciprocal distrust between physicians and patients as caregivers strive for an unachievable objectivity of care. Both the correctional and the clinical healthcare sections establish that medicine exists in collaboration with the governing body because: 1) medicine is provided by those in power and they get to determine the boundaries of its provision and, 2) individual caregivers uphold this structure by complying with the dominant interests. Further, both these arenas of study demonstrate that by upholding the will of those in power, interpersonal relations within medical care reproduce the oppressed-oppressor dynamic. This paper advocates for the use of Fanon’s work within the contemporary United States contexts and argues that we should understand medical institutions as powerful and socio-politically situated, rather than infallible and absolute.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier