SOCC04H3 Lecture Notes - Substance Abuse, Black Market, Philippe Bourgois

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8 May 2012

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Nation’s policies toward Native Americans: separation of Indian children from their
families and cultures
To “civilize” these children into the dominant society
Started in 1879, peaked around 1879-1930; Native American children were forced to
attend boarding schools, day schools, and schools in converted army posts; these
institutions used tactics similar to those used by military to resocialize these children
Crow Dog describes these children as victims of Nazi concentration camps
Even now, when buildings are new with well trained teachers, some children who arrive
don’t speak for days while others go to very drastic measures such as suicide
The children of the Natives are always surrounded by relative, are seldom forced to do
anything against their will, are seldom screamed at or beaten therefore, when they
enter these schools, they experience a completely different environment
The schools consist of impersonality instead of close human contact; a sterile, cold
atmosphere, unfamiliar routine, language problems, and above all, the clock (which is a
white man’s time, not Indian time)
The schools were intended as an alternative to the outright extermination seriously
advocated by generals Sherman and Sheridan they were established by the so-called
The Indian children realized that they were not wanted by the Indians, nor wanted by the
Whites as a result, they became alcoholics
“Solving the Indian Problem”: by making Indians into whites
St. Francis a Christian boarding school for the Indians; although the school is now run
by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, during the 1960s, it was still run by the Church at
these schools, children were beaten, treated harshly, given inadequate food, were not
allowed to meet with their families, except for one week a year, and were forced to pray
in the Christian way, as opposed to the Indian way
Beating was the common punishment for not doing homework, for arriving late, etc
According to Crow Dog, the Native children were treated so badly that she hated and
mistrusted every white person until much later when she met sincere white people she
claims that racism breeds racism in reverse
In winter, dorm rooms were freezing cold, whereas the nun rooms were warm; the
children had to eat old food with bugs and rocks in it sometimes, while the nuns enjoyed
the finest foods
When the girls first arrived at the schools, their braids were chopped off and they were
dumped into tubs of rubbing alcohol “to get the germs off”
Many of the nuns were German immigrants from Bavaria
Crow Dog and two of her friends put together a newspaper called the Red Panther, in
which they exposed the reality of the schools they distributed to the newspaper as
much as they could
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Girls who were near-white were given preference the nuns perceived them as coming
from “good families” – they were treated better, given better food, and given better tasks
Deviance: Recognized violation of social norms
Since there are a variety of social norms that dictate human behaviour, there are
numerous behaviours that can be considered deviant
Whether a person is labelled deviant or not depends on how others perceive, define, and
respond to that person’s behaviour
In this article, Rosenhan explores social deviance of mental illness and the consequences
of labelling people “sane” or “insane”
Benedict (1934): sanity and insanity are not universal; what is considered abnormal
according to one culture may be viewed as normal in another culture; thus, notions of
normality and abnormality may not be as accurate as people believe they are
Sanity and insanity are therefore less substantive that people perceive them to me
The view has grown that psychological categorization of mental illness is useless,
harmful, misleading, and pejorative psychiatric diagnoses are in the minds of the
observers and are not valid summaries of characteristics displayed by the observed
If however, the distinction between the sane and insane is clear, then the context should
not matter e.g., if we put a normal person, with no history of abnormality, in a
psychiatric hospital, we should be able to distinguish them as sane right away
This article describes such an experiment: eight sane people gained secret access to
twelve different psychiatric hospitals
Eight pseudopatients: a psychology graduate in his 20s; three psychologists, a
paediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter and a house wife (three women, five men)
The hospital staffs were not aware of the pseudopatients
The pseudopatients described their symptoms as hearing voices that said “empty”,
“hollow”, and “thud” – other than these symptoms, falsifying name, vocation, and
employment, no further alterations of person, history, or circumstance were made the
pseudopatients explained their life histories exactly as they had occurred
Upon entering the psychiatric wards, the patients acted completely normally
Upon being discharged, except for one pseudopatient with a diagnosis of schizophrenia,
all the rest were labelled as “schizophrenia in remission” – thus, it is apparent that
although these individuals exhibited completely normal behaviour afterwards and had
no history of abnormality, they were labelled as schizophrenics for life
The failure of recognition cannot be attributed to quality of hospitals because there
were 12 different hospitals of varying qualities, and several of them were considered
excellent also, it cannot be attributed to insufficiency of time, because the
hospitalization ranged from 7-52 days, with an average of 19 days
The patients were able to detect the pseudopatients’ normality when the staff was unable
Failure to detect sanity may be due to this: physicians are more likely to call a normal
person sick (a false positive, type 2) than a sick person healthy (false negative, type 1)
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