medicalization

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Related to medicalize: Medicalisation

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
We have to be very careful to not medicalize behaviors that are not appropriately medicalized: where babies sleep, what is a proper sleeping arrangement and how parents decide to respond to their baby's nutritional needs.
Based on information contained in the article and on the National Board of Public Health Examiners Web site, the credentialing exam seems like a dubious attempt to medicalize the public health profession.
The medical profession as a whole will gain public respect if it agrees to medicalize the dying process rather than leaving the final act to be performed with handguns, plastic bags, and illegally acquired drugs.
Bennett characterized homosexuality as "an impulse" which simply requires "self-control," but he also sought to medicalize homosexuality by equating it with death and disease.
The Victorians medicalized orgasm, whereas we medicalize its lack.
Her study explores the changing economic and cultural logics of childbearing and reproduction from the 1920s to early 1990s in the rural Yakusu region of the former Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]) as missionaries, colonial and post-colonial state officials, and development agencies tried to medicalize these practices by building and staffing maternity clinics and hospitals, training Africans to be nurses and midwives, encouraging prenatal care and hospitalized deliveries, and advocating medical and surgical interventions, where appropriate.

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