Lecture 18 Review

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Lecture 18: The Medicalization of Deviance
Formal Social Control
The legitimate processes of defining and treating deviants when they persist in their deviance and it
doesn‟t “go away by itself” through informal control
Imputational Specialists
Imputational specialists: doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, “expert witnesses” as well as police,
lawyers, judges, criminologists, church officials
“Official Labeling
Official labels have the tendency to “stick”
Caught up in a network of records and official sanctions
Decision are mostly about what the problem is (diagnosis) and how it is to be treated (treatment)
Formal social control is in the hands of “experts”
They have the power to:
o Define deviance
o Create deviance
o Make it go away
Unlike informal control, which controls identity, formal social control can physically control the
body of the deviant
o Remove the body from the social setting
o Confine the body to a hospital, prison, or asylum (“total institution”)
“Docile Bodies”
Michel Foucault, discipline and punish: the history of the prison
Docile bodies are those that do not resist control
Bodies are made docile through the processes of formal social control
The “out of control” body becomes controlled
Moral Entrepreneurs
Those who crusade for creation and enforcement of the rules
There is a moral fusion between deviant = bad or evil
Moral entrepreneurs are the “experts” on the correct or “good” way to be
Usually someone has something to gain then they create a category of deviance researchers getting
funding, etc.
Anti-smoking campaigns have turned from being anti-smoking campaigns to anti-smoker campaigns
- de-humanizing smokers
o Problematic when you start to de=humanizing people, you are one step away from
rationalizing violence
Medicalization of Deviance
“Medicalization refers to the application of „disease‟ explanations to certain types of deviant
behaviour” Deutschmann
Psychiatric causes for exception of criminal acts - Abuse, etc.
Each example is an attempt to explain behaviour in terms of the medical model
The problem with the examples is that the deviant behaviour can be the main evidence/only evidence
of the disease can become a circular argument
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