Medicalization and Social Control -

Medicalization and Social Control -

Medicalization and Social Control Spring 2006 Consider the career of one of the seven deadly sins The Seven Deadly Sins


Envy Gluttony Lust Anger Greed Sloth Gluttony

How do we get from badness to illness with a stop along the way at self-righteousness, respect, and acceptance? Medicalization (and de-medicalization) as Social Control

Styles of Social Control Penal Compensatory Conciliatory Therapeutic Reform Prevention

Examples Abound social anxiety mood swings impotence concentration shyness body size breast size/shape aging over-eating under-eating gambling infertility PMS homelessness childlessness childhood aging teeth, vision childbirth menopause violence

spousal abuse child abuse pedophilia male chauvinism alcoholism drug addiction intelligence A (Relatively) Innocuous Example Fertility

What are some characteristics of "normal" fertility?

Age Marital Status Relationship Type Time since marriage Number Method How have different cultures at different times responded to

deviant fertility? Rites and rituals Gossip, reputation, feelings of emptiness (maybe biological, maybe cultural, maybe both) Forced marriage Banishment/ostracism/divorce Death Contemporary Progress

Defining infertility as a medical problem has many advantages Move it irrational to rational Reduced blaming the woman Produced real solutions in many cases Definitions process by which non-medical problem become defined and treated as medical problems, usually in terms of illnesses or disorders

(Conrad 1992, 209) process and outcome of human problems entering the jurisdiction of medical profession (210) "process whereby more and more of everyday life has come under medical dominion, influence, and supervision" (Zola 1983 quoted by Conrad 1992, 210) "defining behavior as a medical problem or illness and mandating or licensing the medical profession to provide some type of treatment for it" (Conrad 1975 quoted by Conrad 1992, 210)

"occurs when a medical frame or definition has been applied to understand or manage a problem" (Conrad 1992, 211) The Case of Hyperkinesis Moral Entrepreneurs and ClaimsMakers Medicalization IS about definitions. Three Levels

Conceptual How do we think about a behavior? Institutional How do we, societally, handle the behavior? Interactional How do we use medical frame for interacting with one another around the behavior? Bias/Orientation of Research

Mostly critical of "over-medicalization" Classic studies document historical evolution including how medicine "discovered" the problem Focus on actors involved lobbying for and against changes in definitions Big emphasis on social construction. Social Construction

Idea or practice has a history Is contingent not natural or inevitable Generally result of power struggles Often serves one or another interest

BUT Cant just dismiss it as mere construction Does not falsify the practice Macro-Sociological Processes

Secularization decline in religion Faith in science, rationality, progress Organizational power of medical profession Corporatization of medicine (pharmaceuticals, device manufacturers, service providers, insurers) Ideology of individualized solutions vs. structural fixes

Ideology of technical fixes vs. structural fixes Progress, humanization Ambivalence Abounds Not all religions oppose medicalization Medical imperialism vs. Intraprofessional struggles Development of para-professionals can take control from doctors Resistance of medical profession in lethal

injection, spousal abuse Forms of Medical Social Control Ideology : medical model as lens through which behavior is seen Collaboration : doctors assist as part of social control apparatus Technology : use of drugs, therapy, screening as tools of social control

Surveillance : medical condition makes you subject to watching/tracking Medicalization : Process Protagonists can be medical professions , issue crusaders (PTSD, MADD, sex addition), patients themselves (childbirth, PMS, homosexuality.

Moral Crusades & Claimsmaking Activist individuals (and, more commonly, organizations) work to change how society categorizes and responds to a particular behavior Public awareness campaigns, attempts to generate "social panics," and lobby for changes in the law. How?

Grounds Warrants Claims Grounds Establishing grounds is an important first step. The most common methods include Definitions and Domain Statements that tell us that something exists. "Do you ______ more than twice a

week? Then you may have ________" (ADD, depression, PTSD) Orientation Statements Including redefining problems as medical, say, or legal. Examples and anecdotes Estimating extent of problem, incidence, growth, social costs Warrants

Warrants are generic bits of logic that are provided to make it easy to take the grounds and run with them toward the desired conclusion. Among the most common are:

Blameless victims Affiliated Evils Deficient Policies Historical Continuity Rights and Freedoms Claims Finally, the rhetoric of claims-making

provides conclusions calls for action "what must be done" and these are all the stronger because activists have also provided syllogism for how to reach these conclusions. Claims-Making as Organizational Activity Who were the moral entrepreneurs in the hyperkinesis

case? Pharmaceutical companies, Association for Children with Learning Disabilities, parents, teacher organizations, schools of education, American Medical Association, American Pyschological Association and so on. IMPORTANT: This is the action of an organization. Discussion and disagreement stops when the majority rule (or whatever decision making system they use) in favor of medicalization. By its size, it sets the agenda,

affects how we think. It removes the issue from a simple debate in the public forum of ideas. Parents who disregard crusading physicians or educators are called bad parents. Coming Out All Over Alternative Process Tertiary Deviance Typically involves reverse politics.

Calling the labelers pig, sexist, prude, etc. If the former labeler persists s/he can become the deviant. Medicalization as DV: degrees and range Medicalization as process, history Degree: how complete is medicalization? Whats it called? Is there a Latin name? An

acronym? Do we still use the other name? Range: how much of a behavioral area is medicalized Possible Historical Trajectories How Expansive?

How medicalized? Problems/Critiques/Worries

The Problem of Expert Control Medical Social Control The Individualization of Social Problems The De-politicization of Deviant Behavior The Problem of Expert Control Professions are organized monopolies of expertise that

are generally self regulating. Given the right by the state to patrol themselves. Moving a problem from deviance to sicknesss removes it from the realm of public discussion. In the public realm, norms can evolve, values can change. Once it becomes medicalized, it is subject to a different set of

evolutionary controls. If there is a funding source associated with it, there is a large incentive to maintain the problem and discover more and more of it. Medical Social Control

Through medicalization society is able to reach into persons in a way that the state alone could not. Cf. medicine in Soviet Union. Demedicalization can be very difficult The Individualization of Social Problems

Cf. Mills 1943. Ryan 1971. Individualization rules out structural solutions. Removes possibility of behavior being a manifiestation of a group saying were not going to take it any more. Uppity slaves. Unruly students. Outside agitators. Ignores possibility that behavior may be a response to a social

situation. By rushing to quench any individual deviance we rob society of one of the important functions of deviance, acting as a warning signal. Consider also the phenomenal increase in the number of medicalized aspects of children that have been added to our educational system over the last 30 years and how much the quality has declined over the same period. By always being able to diagnose the individual, fundamental changes in the system are never considered.

De-politicization of Deviant Behavior Cf. children and violence. Something wrong with children or something wrong with the world they live in?

Ponderables Are there examples of medicine undermining power? Why so much medicalization around womens behavior?

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