Deviance and Medicalization

Deviance and Medicalization: From Badness to Sickness

PETER CONRAD
JOSEPH W. SCHNEIDER
Foreword by Joseph R. Gusfleld
Copyright Date: 1992
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 352
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt14bt7nw
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  • Book Info
    Deviance and Medicalization
    Book Description:

    This classic text on the nature of deviance, originally published in 1980, is now reissued with a new Afterword by the authors. In this new edition of their award-winning book, Conrad and Schneider investigate the origins and contemporary consequences of the medicalization of deviance. They examine specific cases-madness, alcoholism, opiate addiction, homosexuality, delinquency, and child abuse-and draw out their theoretical and policy implications. In a new chapter, the authors address developments in the last decade-including AIDS, domestic violence, co-dependency, hyperactivity in children, and learning disabilities-and they discuss the fate of medicalization in the 1990s with the changes in medicine and continued restrictions on social services.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0349-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. FOREWORD
    (pp. v-x)
    Joseph R. Gusfleld

    The idea of progress is by no means spent. Western societies, and the United States in particular, retain the optimism of the Enlightenment in the belief that in science and technology will be found the means for achieving good and avoiding evil. There is hardly a chapter in the history of the achievements of science as glorious as that of bacteriology’s defeat of infectious diseases. Where today is the fear of diphtheria, typhoid, smallpox, or poliomyelitis? The technical apparatus of medicine and its practitioners have been the recipients of that beneficial movement in the eradication of human woes. That such...

  3. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Peter Conrad and Joseph W. Schneider
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  5. 1 DEVIANCE, DEFINITIONS, and the MEDICAL PROFESSION
    (pp. 1-16)

    A slow but steady transformation of deviance has taken place in American society. It has not been a change in behavior as such, but in how behavior is defined. Deviant behaviors that were once defined as immoral, sinful, or criminal have been given medical meanings. Some say that rehabilitation has replaced punishment, but in many cases medical treatments have become a new form of punishment and social control. This transformation is certainly not complete and has not been entirely unidirectional. These changes have not occurred by themselves nor have they been the result of a “natural” evolution of society or...

  6. 2 FROM BADNESS to SICKNESS: CHANGING DESIGNATIONS of DEVIANCE and SOCIAL CONTROL
    (pp. 17-37)

    This chapter departs from the historical frame that organizes most of this book to present the theoretical perspective we have used in our study of deviance. The perspective serves as a general conceptual framework for the ensuing substantive chapters. The first part of this chapter presents what we call a historical-social constructionist approach to deviance. Ours is a broadly conceived sociology-of-knowledge approach to the construction and change of deviance designations and is rooted in the labeling-interactionist tradition of deviance research. This allows us to focus on how certain activities or behaviors become defined as deviant and how they come to...

  7. 3 MEDICAL MODEL of MADNESS: THE EMERGENCE of MENTAL ILLNESS
    (pp. 38-72)

    The roots of the medical conception of madness run deep.*This chapter explores the historical origins of the concept of mental illness, its ascendence and expansion in Western society, and subsequent domination of the medical model of madness in modern times. The concept of madness as anillnesshas a long history in Western culture but has not been always the dominant explanation of madness. We carefully review the historical development of mental illness as it is the exemplar for medical conceptions of deviant behavior. It is literally the original case of medicalized deviance.

    All societies seem to recognize certain...

  8. 4 ALCOHOLISM: DRUNKENNESS, INEBRIETY, and the DISEASE CONCEPT
    (pp. 73-109)

    In this chapter we discuss the origins and rise of the idea that repeated alcohol intoxication should be thought of as a sickness rather than a sin or crime. In contrast to the case of mental illness discussed in the previous chapter, the rise for the disease concept of alcoholism illustrates that the process of collective medical definition need not necessarily be sustained primarily by medical personnel. The historical development of medical definitions of deviant drinking involves powerful nonmedical groups, individuals, and organizations whose moral, political, status, and/or professional interests were served by such definitional change. Although physicians were not...

  9. 5 OPIATE ADDICTION: THE FALL and RISE of MEDICAL INVOLVEMENT
    (pp. 110-144)

    The history of medical involvement with opiate addiction illustrates most clearly the political conflicts involved in the deviance designation battles and the vicissitudes of deviance definitions. This chapter traces a number of clear definitional changes of opiate use: from a time when it was not considered much of a problem, to its definition as a medical problem, through its criminalization, and again to its limited remedicalization. Since our focus is on definitional change and medical involvement, we are interested in drug traffic, criminal activities, legal penalties, or drug subcultures only as they affect medicalization and demedicalization. Our focus is on...

  10. 6 CHILDREN and MEDICALIZATION: DELINQUENCY, HYPERACTIVITY, and CHILD ABUSE
    (pp. 145-171)

    Children are a special group of people in our society: they are considered innocent, dependent, and, because of their immaturity, not wholly responsible for their deviant behaviors. Many deviant behaviors by children, and some behaviors that victimize them, have come under medical jurisdiction in American society. This medicalization of childhood deviance has occurred in part because of the status of children in society and the types of attention and reaction we are able to give to childhood problems. To better understand this special status of children, we first briefly review “the discovery of childhood,” focusing on the development of the...

  11. 7 HOMOSEXUALITY: FROM SIN to SICKNESS to LIFE-STYLE
    (pp. 172-214)

    The subject of this chapter is the medicalization and demedicalization of homosexual or same-sex sexual conduct (hereafter, simply “same-sex conduct”). We place this discussion toward the end of our case examples because it allows us to reiterate several of the key themes of our medicalization argument as well as providing a clear illustration of demedicalization of deviance—a topic to which we have thus far only alluded.

    The origin and rise of the medical definitions of same-sex conduct and those who engage in it provide us with a clear-cut example of the historical complementarity and continuity of religious, legal, and...

  12. 8 MEDICINE and CRIME: THE SEARCH for the BORN CRIMINAL and the MEDICAL CONTROL of CRIMINALITY
    (pp. 215-240)
    Richard Moran

    InA Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess’ futuristic novel, Alex, an ultraviolent criminal, had been given a life sentence for rape and murder. To obtain his release from prison, he agreed to “reclamation treatment,” a program designed to rehabilitate him in less than 2 weeks. The prison warden opposed the new “Ludovico Technique,” which was said to “turn the bad into the good.” He believed in “an eye for an eye” and thought that the new treatment was unduly soft on criminals. But the orders had come from above, and he was powerless to resist them.

    The aim of the new...

  13. 9 MEDICINE as an INSTITUTION of SOCIAL CONTROL: CONSEQUENCES for SOCIETY
    (pp. 241-260)

    In the final two chapters we leave behind the specific cases and focus on some general features of the medicalization of deviance. These are important chapters, for together they outline the sources and consequences of medicalizing deviance in American society. Chapter 9 examines medicine as an institution of social control, and Chapter 10 offers a statement of what a theory of medicalization of deviance might look like, based on the cases presented in earlier chapters. We attempt, in essence, to provide a more succinct sociological analysis of the medicalization of deviance.

    In our society we want to believe in medicine,...

  14. 10 A THEORETICAL STATEMENT on the MEDICALIZATION of DEVIANCE
    (pp. 261-276)

    This chapter serves as both a conceptual summary of the various cases discussed in this book and as a theoretical statement about the medicalization of deviance in American society. In essence, we propose here a general sociological account, grounded in the historical data we have presented and drawing on common themes and patterns. The chapter offers not a formal, positivist “explanation” but rather an attempt to draw out what we perceive to be the major analytic or theoretical insights about the social and historical processes we have discussed.

    In this theoretical statement we attempt to account for the rise and...

  15. AFTERWORD DEVIANCE and MEDICALIZATION: A DECADE LATER
    (pp. 277-292)

    SinceDeviance and Medicalizationwas published in 1980, a great deal has been written not only about the general process of medicalization and the medicalization of deviance but also about the particular cases we took up in the book. Many of the studies published in the last decade would be relevant to a new, expanded edition of the text. We decided against such a rewriting, however, for a number of reasons. First, we concluded that the new studies would not lead us to alter fundamentally our basic argument and analysis. We have little new to add to the theoretical position...

  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 293-310)
  17. AUTHOR INDEX
    (pp. 311-316)
  18. SUBJECT INDEX
    (pp. 317-327)