Reassembling and cutting the social with health insurance

Nueva publicación de José Ossandón en Journal of Cultural Economy: ‘Reassembling and cutting the social with health insurance’. El artículo es parte de un número especial editado por Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen & Ine Van Hoyweghen que incluye además, ‘Neoliberalism and Natural Disaster. Insurance as political technology of catastrophe’ de Stephen Collier, ‘Governmental Conditions for the Economization of Uncertainty. Fire insurance, Regulation and Insurance Actuarialism’ de Pat O’Malley & Alex Roberts, ‘Life securitisation, the event object of insurance and the strategisation of time’ de Luis Lobo-Guerrero y ‘On the politics of calculative devices. Performing life insurance markets’ de Ine Van Hoyweghen.


By rescuing an obscure and almost forgotten parliamentary controversy in Chile, this article shows how private property and solidarity cohabit in health insurance. To do so, it follows both pragmatist sociology, where controversies are seen as situations in which social formations are questioned and reconfigured, and recent economic sociology, studying how marketisation might help in assembling and not only destroying social bonds. Simultaneously, this work departs from these influences in three directions. It deals with two ways of assembling the social, solidarity and property, which have remained overlooked in the proximate literature. Rather than a detailed ethnographic description, it works analogically, eliciting new interpretations of the empirical material by pairing the social scientific concepts mobilised in the studied controversy with the conceptual tools developed in recent social sciences. And, by analysing a parliamentary controversy regarding insurance, it complements recent work that is starting to study how finance commodities are enacted not only in traditional market encounters but also in a varied array of collateral sites, including courts, social policy and regulation controversies.

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