Mark Furlong on the self under crisis

Until the financial crisis settled in as our permanent circumstance, the well-adjusted knew how to behave: it made sense to inspect the available options before selecting the course of action and it was a ritual of modernity that one sought out the best information and advice, and then made decisions. This creed was to be followed whether the question at hand was directly instrumental, such as the matter of superannuation, or personal, such as whether to have children.

The configuration of subjectivity included a moral, as well as a pragmatic, dimension. For citizens who believed the neoliberal mantra – that it is possible to be ‘in charge of your life’, ‘to make the most of your talents and opportunities’ and so forth – the self-help metaphors had the status of a creed. More than mere guidelines, they were both obligations and injunctions: ‘If I can be master of my own fate, I ought to be.’

Only since 1991

In 1991, women were not included in any of the trials at the NIH because we had hormones. It wasn’t until we had a critical mass of women here that said this will not do for more than half the population of the United States, who pay taxes, that we made certain that diseases like osteoporosis, mainly a woman’s disease, cervical cancer, only a woman’s disease, uterine cancer and others were really looked at.

Up to that point, 1991, all research at the Institutes of Health was done on white males.