Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (4):265-278 (2017)

Jonathan Sholl
Université de Bordeaux
Medicalization appears to be an issue that is both ubiquitous and unquestionably problematic as it seems to signal at once a social and existential threat. This perception of medicalization, however, is nothing new. Since the first main writings in the 1960s and 1970s, it has consistently been used to describe inappropriate or abusive instances of medical authority. Yet, while this standard approach claims that medicalization is a growing problem, it assumes that there is simply one “medical model” and that the expanding realm of “the medical” can be more or less clearly delineated. Moreover, while intended to establish the reality of this growing threat, this research often requires making arbitrary or unjustified distinctions between different practices. To better clarify the concept of medicalization, I will focus more on capturing the variety of medical practices than on the sociological aspects of medical discourse. In doing so, I will explore the distinction between medicalization and pathologization, a distinction that is often overlooked and that brings with it many conceptual and practical implications. After defining these terms, I will use some examples to show that while pathologizing is closely tied to medicalizing, both can occur independently. I will then further develop this distinction in terms of the different individual and social effects of these practices.
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-017-9414-z
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References found in this work BETA

Human Enhancement.Nick Bostrom & Julian Savulescu (eds.) - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
The Foundations of Bioethics.H. Tristram Engelhardt - 1986 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Enhancing Gender.Hazem Zohny, Brian D. Earp & Julian Savulescu - forthcoming - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry:1-13.
Understanding Disease and Illness.Jeremy R. Simon, Havi Carel & Alexander Bird - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (4):239-244.

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