The Deviant Imagination: Psychiatry, Social Work and Social by Geoffrey Pearson

By Geoffrey Pearson

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Extra resources for The Deviant Imagination: Psychiatry, Social Work and Social Change

Sample text

Persons relate through establishing relations with each other and to natural events, while things and organisms appear not to relate so. n Cooper's position is posed in similar terms : In physical and biological science . . observed facts are usually inert facts, that is to say they are grasped from the exterior by an observer who is not disturbed by them. . In a science of personal interaction, on the other hand, mutual disturbance of the observer and the observed is not only inevitable in every case but it is this m·utual disturbance which gives rise to the primary facts on which the theory is based .

It promises a theoretical understanding (and a related practice) which connects the macropolitics of the State with the micro-politics of personal troubles and therapeutic or correctional activities. The politics of antipsychiatry, however, is in need of demystification. The appeal which it undoubtedly does have for some professional malcontents is essentially one which is sentimental - that is, it reflects and voices the professional malaise rather than incisively analysing its structure and revolutionising its practice.

Mental illness is a myth, whose function is to disguise and thus render more palatable the bitter pill of moral conflicts in human relations. 23 Szasz often seems to be misunderstood on this point. ' 24 His argument is that problems of human conduct have a moral and political character which is masked by psychiatric labels, and that medical terminology is quite inappropriate in the sphere of human conduct. In The Manufacture of Madness, for example, Szasz quotes another psychiatrist, Karl Menninger, who writes on the subject of homosexuality: 'We cannot, like Gide, extol homosexuality.

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