medicalization

(redirected from Medicalisation)
Also found in: Dictionary, Medical.
Related to Medicalisation: medicalizing

medicalization

  1. (in a medical context) the extension of medical authority into areas where lay and common-sense understandings and procedures once predominated, e.g. childbirth, where a medical frame of reference devalues the woman's perspective by stressing active management by professionals in order to minimize risk to mother and child at the same time as evaluating the success of the outcome by, mainly, technical criteria.
  2. (more generally) the tendency to view undesirable conduct as illness requiring medical intervention, thus extending the realm of medical judgements into political, moral and social domains.
The concept has been criticized for presenting medicine as a unitary institution, for presenting lay and medical frames of reference as mutually exclusive, and for stressing the social control dimension of medicine without acknowledging the social value of medical work. It is regarded as a valuable concept because it focuses on issues of professional power and ideological domination. See also SOCIOLOGY OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE.
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