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ANTC61H3 Lecture Notes - Biomedicine, Social Constructionism, Pharmaceutical Industry

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Bianca Dahl

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ANTC61: October 30, 2012 - Ethics
- Peter Conrad
o Medicalization is more driven by commercial and profit now
o Medical and market interest
- Process of transforming non-medicalization issues that matters of health and
o E.g. doctor testing for your blood pressure in solution to stress
- Doctors and their disease categorize, society and its intrinsic desire to label
and have solution to illness, big pharma and markets to sell more medicine
Pros of Medicalization?
- drugs work
o recognition as a disease and ways of treating them and they can
actually be cured
o e.g. viagara, medicalization of Alzheimer’s or dementia
- medicalization can combat stigma
o normalizes and makes it easier to talk about disease e.g. HIV
- can increase feelings of self-worth
o sense of relief from being ostracize
o Goes back to Cartesian’s mind body dualism
- leading to better medical outcomes
- can destabilize biomedical hegemony
o destabilizes clinical or hospital based hegemony / biomedical system
/ power of doctors
o if you know how to treat your disease, if you know what medication =
you can destabilize
o if you know you can “diagnose” your own illness = critique
Cons of Medicalization?
- biomedicine intrudes on everyday life
o you can’t escape hegemony
o biomedicine increases our reliance to hegemony
- profit drives, not health concerns
- can cause increased stigma
o label of disease can be attached to the individual as stigma
o e.g. shyness in the article
- medicalization = social constructionism (the authority of institutions rather
than biology determines the agenda)
o believes in the perspective that reality is socially constructive
o e.g. PMS may not really exist?
What’s the truth about medicalization?
- no changes in stigmatizing against schizophrenia in two different times
- indirect effect of profit
- medicine is the solution of life’s problem
Ivan Illich
- iatrogenesis
o increase in illness as a result of medical treatment, or the contraction
of new sicknesses as an outcome of treating another
- occurs on 3 levels ***Check slides:
o clinical = serious side-effects
o social = public is made docile/dependent on medical
o structural
- self-care and holistic healing
- form of medicalization
- where the target of intervention
- reinforces the privatization for generalized well-being
- social problem as opposed to medical problem
- e.g. “culturally transmitted disease” or they don’t take care of themselves
- giving them access to take care of themselves
- blaming poor people disease as rooted in their poverty
- ^ an example why medicalization can be a good thing
Ethical Variability
- by individualizing consent and focusing on ethical standards whether a
patient understood = it ignores the larger structural reality
- encoded in a way that pharmaceutical companies can intervene
biological citizenship
- reduction of a person’s rights to the claims they can make on the basis of
their state of ill health
- zoe / “bare life” = basic needs for subsistence / survival
- bios / “elaborated life” = all the stuff (politics, society, culture, dignity) that
makes us humans and not just animals
Case studies:
- HIV’s stigma connected largely to the media for the prevention campaign
- AIDS as a death sentence