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February 23, 2010: Deviance and Control
•Why the message is putting out there…
•Medicalization of deviance: It refers to the process by which non
medical problems become defined and treated as medical problems.
•Critics of psychiatry were the first to call attention to medicalization, it
was referred to as commonly medical social control.
•Parsons—famous functional sociologist. –conceptualize medicine as a
form of social control.
•Saying it is health issue, using medical language to define a problem.
•Or using a medical intervention.
•For example, if talk about drug abusers and addicts, talk about
addition …(medical issue),
•Alcoholism—becomes no longer a deviant act but a physical health
•Homosexuality: first classified as sociopathology disorder,….now
removed from DNS.
•Why does medicalization occur??
•Conrad maintains the medicine has replace religion as the dominant
•Infertility came from the gods. In looking at the rise of medicine and
the demise of religion, in some sense begs the question of how
medicalization came about. Why did medicine went out in this process?
Why not religion??
•The power of the medical profession cannot be ignored.
•Professional dominance has given medicine complete control over
health and medical problems.
•Especially true when children have ADHD now…now a learning
•Allen---part of the reading, he talks about social control, how it is
central and a critical concept in sociology. He gives a great overview of
the importance of social control and suggests that the prevailing focus
on the study of social control is in the role of criminal law. (penal
sanctions—because punishment is the way we think of responding to
acts of deviant, but there are many other ways)
•He points out: therapy (treatment), compensation, conciliation
(negotiation between the two parties).
•Therapy is the form of social control to return patients to normality.
•The goal is to change to what may be perceived of as a disorder
•The targets of therapeutic social control are not seen as morally wrong
but rather as victims of an illness which are beyond their control.
•Horowitz tries to predict social control,--more interventions or fewer
interventions, more therapy or less therapy, he makes interesting
•One has to do with relational distance: the closer you are to your
relationships the more likely
•Most likely to see therapy invoked when problems arise between people
who are closer to one another. Less therapy the more distance they are.
•Eg. Husband and wife: lots of therapy, but stranger/stranger-then no
•We think of incest as a sickness rather than as a violent crime.
•Gender is another one besides relational distance that is quite
•Are women more likely to get therapy?
•Women’s deviant behaviour more likely to defined as crazy as
something that needs therapy compared to men.
•Horowitz explains this as a result of hierarchy. There are different
status positions of men and women in society, because women
generally have lower status than men, they are subject to more
therapeutic social control. He also argues that as the social distances
between men and women disappear, or reduce or become less distinct,
there should be fewer gender differences for therapy.
•Question is…: is it true? Will rates of therapy level out as the social
distances between men and women decrease? Or not?
•He also argues that beyond gender and relational distance, its social
•This is a huge area of sociology and in particular among people who
study mental health.
•Horowitz argues that therapeutic control is directly related to social
status. People with higher social status are more likely to use therapy.
And define deviant activities therapeutically.
•Rates of mental illness vary inversely with social class. There is more
mental illness among the lower class than the upper class.
•One explanation for this inverse relationship is social causation: if you
are poor, hard to pay bills, and the resources to deal with the stress.
MORE STRESS and fewer resources causes more stress among the