HLTHAGE 2G03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Reductionism, Conduct Disorder, Psychoanalysis

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Race, ethnicity and mental health
Race as construct
Not a natural entity but is an idea that members of society have put together and devised
i.e. teenagers are a social construct
o The idea that there is this specific age range that children fight with their parents, are
moody etc.
i.e. gender differences are a social construction
We use phenotypic features to determine race, has no meaning within whole of an organism
o Biological differences within racial groups are greater than those between racial groups
o Physical features imagined as indicative of race are found across racial groups
The differences between people (i.e. physical differences) of the same race are just as great as
between the various races
No suh thig as a pue ae, o ae thee pue people
Immeasurable a category assigned by others
o Is not an inherent characteristic that we have or possess; race is something assigned to
us by other people
People in different contexts might be racially defined differently in different terms
But race is still meaningful (in the sense that we as a society treat it as a real category
o Race is constructed in a relational sense, privileging some and degrading others
o It is not a biological category but it is a social category
o Race always exists in some form of hierarchy
Race and mental health
Weste psholog ad pshiat lagel stutued alog lies that eflet soiet’s piilegig
of certain notions
o Individualism: self-centeredness, self-consciousness
Reductionism: greatest amount of emphasis placed on the smallest thing which
in this case is the individual
Atomized; you are conscious and working for yourself
Primarily concerned with ourselves and well-being
See our own advancement and gratification
o Mental health as individual variable, disconnected from social setting
We assume that mental health is something that an individual has; but we do
not consider that mental health could have a relational sense to it in terms of
relationships with others
o Those who define wellbeing in other terms collectively, community-focused
Do not necessarily fit into this system
Despite assumptions about universality, many argue that knowledge about mental health is
primarily Euro=American in orientation
o Lack of objectivity facilitates cultural bias
o We assume that these ideas are applicable in all settings and contexts; this does not
hold true
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Some suggest that the psy-ences have had (and continue to have) problems when dealing with
race
Colonialism and the psy-ences
The liits of the Afia id
o The African body and mind are different then the other kinds of races/people
Talked about it usually in terms od deficiencies
o Until 1960s, reflects psy-ees’ udestadig of ae as a iologial atego
o Colonialism was important in spreading the values and beliefs of Europeans
o Reseah deostated loe itelligee, liited apait fo goth,
submissiveness
Those who disrupted economic order (kitchens, mines, farms) subject to attention and
treatment
People who were sent to asylums were those that responded to colonialism unfavourably
Different treatments, inadequate accommodation of black insane in asylums
o Within the native asylums the conditions were deplorable, facilitated the spread of
disease
o Psychoanalysis not used
White isae had goe atie – failing to uphold white civility giving in to alcoholism, STIs etc
Samuel Cartwright, psy-ences and slavery
Early to mid 19th century
Was a famous physician in the South
These illnesses were exclusively diagnosed in slaves
Drapetomania
o The cause in most cases that induces the Negro to run away from service is as much a
disease of the mind as any other specie mental affiliation and much more curable as a
general rule
o It was a mental illness to run away from slavery
o Good food and clothing, limited social interaction as the cure
Dysaethesia aethiopica
o Those ho did’t ok ell, delieatel destoig fa euipet o slakig
o The a’t (part of the lecture slide)
o Because of stupidness of mind and insensibility of the nerves induced by the disease
The psy-ences and Canadian colonialism
Helped pepetuate ole saage – primitive, wild, uncorrupted by civilization
This idea was used to justify colonialism
o About subjugation to occur we need to educate these children so it gives people this
nobility of colonialism
Civilization a precipitating cause of mental illness
o Although perhaps it was dispossession, segregation and cultural genocide
o Given as a reason for indigenous people to have a mental health issue
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