Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.

Dr. Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D,B.C.S.A.,DAPA.
e-mail: batushkad@yahoo.com

Thursday, December 14, 2006


The following is some comments from my colleague, Robert Schmidt, a doctoral student in Sociology at Binghamton University. I find this material of great interest.

Medicine in general, and bio-psych in particular, purport a linear notion
of "progress". "Adolescence" is a very recent [and very Eurocentric]
construction. In the 19th century, children were typically
regulated/disciplined through work. And if the golden age of capitalism
(say 1945-1973) operated on a logic of discipline ( in schools, the
factory and the use of paddles in schools) and purported to REFORM deviant
people ( through hard work, discipline and perhaps prisons), then
certainly neoliberalism (1973-present) uses a much more pervasive
technology of social control, but it operates on a logic that people can't
be reformed (although blacks, and other groups considered sub-human,
couldn't be reformed prior to 1945 -- but that's another discussion [that
is not unrelated]).

In attempt to link hard-wired genetics with ever-changing time/space
contingent socially acceptable behavior, people are considered
PSYIOLOGICALLY "sick" before they express SOCIAL symptoms. Blacks are
considered criminals before they commit a crime. A poor child from an
alcoholic family is considered [and expected to be] an alcoholic before
they even experiment with alcohol. "Alcoholics" are always alcoholics;
addicts are always addicts-- it's part of their body. Gays, too, are
treated as psychically different.

Sure, schools don't use paddles. Parents (assuming the child lives in a
nuclear family) don't spank their kids anymore. But if spanking is
"barbaric" and primitive, what is medicine with dangerous known and
unknown side effects? If labeling a child medically "sick" alleviates the
shame of “sinful” and “bad” behavior, what does labeling an otherwise
normal child with ADD/ODD or some other “chemical imbalance” do?

The conclusion from this is that there is no linear progress.

The failure of psychiatry makes the case for Post-psychiatry. Perhaps the
failure of the psychiatry is its sucess: psychiatry serves a specific
funation, and was thus meant to fail. Institutions of power and control
don’t "cure the soul" -- and even if they could, perhaps it is not
desirable to do so. The way in which society defines, produces, labels,
and responds to [deviant] behavior needs to be changed.

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