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 ?
When we "medicalize" a child's unhappiness rather than address the causes, we might be worsening his or her sense of alienation, which may drive suicidality.
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.
Citing some of the events during the gayrights march, McLaughlin derisively noted that, once again, "the crazies were seizing the spotlight." Nina Totenberg said Clinton was distancing himself from the march because it would no doubt be the occasion for "the kind of behavior that |normal' people find very disgusting." And, in an especially irresponsible and grotesque programming choice, This Week with David Brinkley featured an interview with a valiant Randy Shilts, who is fighting for his life, and then chose William Bennett to represent "the other side." 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.
"They medicalize care." Furthermore, supplements are often left unopened, or languish so long at nurses' stations and resident rooms that they become unpalatable or unsafe.
He cites his concerns garnered over the past few decades: the increased complexity of criminal justice and mental health; the ever-burgeoning prison population that begs for innovation; an over-reliance on criminal statistics as an index of crime; the increasing privatization of criminal justice provisions, such as probation and prison services; quick-fix legislation; an inability to tolerate risk in an increasingly risk-averse and risk-obsessed society; an increasing tendency to medicalize problems of living as evidenced by some of the provisions in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
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.
Reason: In some respects people do seem to be more skeptical than they used to be of psychiatry's attempts to medicalize behavior.
He begins with a persuasive account of how early century eugenicist physicians and psychologists aroused public outcry against and tried to medicalize definitions of criminal sexual behavior.

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