Foucault was right when he described modern states as biopolitical. Their main function is to take care of the physical well-being of their populations. In this sense, medicine has taken the place of religion, and the hospital has replaced the Church. The body rather than the soul is the privileged object of institutionalized care: ‘health replaced salvation’ [...] State institutions do not only care for our bodies as such, but also for the housing, food and other factors that are relevant for keeping our bodies healthy – for example, public and private transportation systems take care of the passengers’ bodies being delivered to their destinations undamaged, while the ecological industry takes care of the environment to make it more fitted for human health.
What I like about this is how good it is at showing how the institutions that are responsible for care shifted from institutions that were authorized by the church to institutions connected to and authorized by the state. It is a good example of how the administration of civilization passed from the church to the church in partnership with the state. It also helps me think through the ways the church, which was very local, was replaced by a more centralized administrative apparatus that covered larger geographic areas and populations.