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SOC 3290 Deviance
Overheads Lecture 7: The Pathological Perspective 2:
* Today: social control policies/assessment of the pathological
* “Treatment” = the cure for nonconformity * Associated with rise of the “Therapeutic state” * Problems: - assumes deviants have no choices in behavior - hiding of social/moral judgements in name of science - Phrenology once officially recognized/practiced in policy - Lombroso’s atavism used to classify delinquents Eugenics:
* Popular idea: reduce deviance by “removing deviant individuals from the gene pool.” Manifested in involuntary sterilization laws * Very popular in early part of 20th century/ many forced sterilizations The Mental Hospital:
* Attempt to rehabilitate/change existing deviants * “Great confinement” of 17th-18th centuries * Hopeful treatments alternatively proposed/discredited over time * Reformers balked at harsh custodial control * Mid-20th century: mental hospitals essentially warehouses * Thorazine synthesized in 1952: reduced symptoms/restored order * Supporters very positive re: drug treatment * Detractors: (1) didn’t treat root cause of problem (2) really about controlling patients (3) disfiguring side effects (e.g. tarditive dyskenesia) * Mental Hospitals Depopulated between 1955-1970. Reasons: (1) drug treatment (2) legal rulings on patients’ rights (3) journalistic exposes/sociological research (4) cost-cutting by governments * Some jurisdictions want to do away with mental hospitals - don’t access community health facilities often- most end up on the street/in welfare housing- right to post-hospital care? The Pathological Perspective Today:
* Despite failures, the pathological perspective is alive and kicking * New movement to study biological/pathological roots of deviance * Books/research reviews often don’t consider criticisms: - Wilson & Herrstein: criminologists “uncomfortable” with - Ellis: sexual assault a result of natural selection (discounts cross- cultural studies/patriarchy) Hyperkinesis:
* Considered #1 childhood syndrome, despite being social deviance * What was once “bad” is now “sick” * Once diagnosed, drug treatment soon follows (Ritalen) - Researchers never discovered organic defect- Researchers reasoned that if drugs improve behavior, organic problem must have caused unruliness (illogical)- New pediatric interest in child mental health (status booster)- Synthesis of Ritalen/ FDA approval in 1961- Parallel success of drug treatment/control for mental patients- Pediatric specialists proposed new diagnosis: hyperkinesis- Backed up by Learning Disabilities groups, medical representatives on investigating committee - Massive advertizing campaign/profits by drug industry The Surgical Control of Deviant Behavior:
* Moniz (1935): first prefrontal lobotomy * Early 1950's: up to 50,000 lobotomies performed in U.S.
- journalistic expose’s- questions about selection of candidates- newer drugs- newer psychosurgical techniques - directed at hypothalamus, amygdala and thalamus- based on animal aggression experiments (e.g. electric implants)- proponents say safe/secure ways of control - critics say unethical experimentation/real problems not there- aggression not always result of electrical/chemical changes- even if so, what causes these? The environment- pathological speculation about “yet undetected lesions”- pathological “profiles” of good candidates for surgery (e.g. having a record of physical assaults, intoxication, impulsive sexuality, and accidents) - similar things can be caused by class related power imbalances - hypotheses for neurological investigation- why don’t all lower class people act violently (their brains?)- propose “early warning tests” for the potentially violent - some individuals become more violent/incapacitated- when those with physical problems removed from sample, patients with behavioral problems show no improvement - Evidence of effectiveness not convincing - Controversial- Legal/regulatory caution- Standards proposed (but vaguely defined) * Pathological theorists don’t give up/ remain imaginative: - Suggest implanting two-way transmitters into deviants’ brains- Total monitoring/control possibilities- Illustrates total control potential of positivist science- This possibility is not far from being recognizable- Who’s in control? Assessment of the Pathological Perspective:
- Promises much/delivers little- “Scientific” claims vs. methodological problems - Humanitarian intent vs. repressive practices - Emphasis on naturalistic causation introduces new complexities- Humanitarian intent- Optimism- Flexibility- Benefits of “sick role” - Limits role of human choice- Limits impact of socio-historical context- “Deviants” somehow more determined than others/made - False neutrality: moral decisions hidden by code words - Expert Control mystifies discourse/produces “tunnel vision”: (2) Influenced by institutionalized thinking (3) Influenced by ad campaigns/drug industry - Individualizing social problems/avoids social influences (e.g. on - Ignoring the power politics of deviance- The possibility of medical social control “for their own good” (e.g. lobotomies, drugs for anxiety/eating disorders) - Diverting questions about good and evil * In the end: the pathological perspective denies us a full vision of deviance & social control as practical, human struggle


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