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Free Health Clinics, Resistance and the Entanglement of Christianity and Commodified Health Care Delivery



Abstract:  Free clinics are an important part of the US health care safety net and their numbers are rising. This article offers a critical analysis of the politics of free health clinics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It uses the geographies of resistance literature to assess free clinics as a response to the neoliberalization of health care delivery. It underlines the multiple political spaces free clinics occupy as a result of the entanglements of a diverse range of identities and practices within the clinic space. In Milwaukee, the primary entanglement occurs between the progressive Christian identity inspiring the practices of the free clinic's volunteers and the commodified identity of the corporate non-profit health care systems that dominate health care delivery in the city. This research suggests that understanding the transition from oppositional identities, such as progressive Christianity, to resistance is an important next step in constructing more robust responses to neoliberal capitalism and other exploitive social relations.

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