Madness and Society 2 (Autumn) (L4065)
Madness and Society 2: Clinical Controversies (Autumn)
Module details for 2008 cohort.
FHEQ Level 6
This course builds upon theoretical approaches and research within medical sociology, with a unique focus on the social factors affecting mental health and illness. There will be a focus on substantive topics and contemporary issues: theories and concepts will be applied to a range of mental disorders as case studies (including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and schizophrenia and personality disorders) in order to explore the social and political controversies surrounding them. Students are encouraged to retain a critical perspective when evaluating different bodies of knowledge and evidence, and to consider the relative influence of social, psychological, emotional and physical/biological factors in shaping the way mental disorders are experienced and managed. Some of the substantive issues to be discussed are the role of the mass media in shaping lay understandings of madness and constructions of the mentally ill, as well as the power they have to reinforce stigma and prejudice; the role of the pharmaceutical industry in creating new disorders, markets and types of patient; and the agency exercised by service user-led movements to resist psychiatric power. The course also aims to develop a critical and analytical understanding of wider debates in the field, such as:
the conceptualisation of mental disorder and whether medical ways of categorizing and dealing with it are the most appropriate.
the nature, experience and treatment of different mental disorder categories (using case study examples), and the social/cultural factors affecting their emergence and development.
whether mental illness is really a form of social deviance that is medically constructed, amplified and controlled through the psychiatric system.
critiques of the therapeutic claims of psychiatry in relation to its presumed objectivity, scientific status and social neutrality. Is psychiatry ultimately an instrument of social control?
processes of social causation and social construction of mental illness, and the tensions between them.
the place of the subjective voice of the patient in 'lay' perspectives and user movements.
By the end of the course, a successful student should be able to
1 assess the validity of different models of mental illness and develop analytical distinctions between their definitions of mental health, illness, ab/normality and deviance
2 demonstrate a critical and in-depth knowledge of one or more specific mental disorders in terms of the social factors affecting their discovery, conceptualisation, representation and clinical construction (aetiology, course and treatment)
3 analyse the contribution of different strands of sociological thought to the understanding and treatment of mental illness
4 debate the relative merits of psychiatric treatments and other therapies with regard to mental illness and emotional health
5 critically debate the political significance of service user movements and lay accounts of mental illness as a potential challenge to psychiatric power.
|Undergraduate Thesis (6000 words)||Spring Term Week 1 Mon 16:00||100.00%|
Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.
Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.
Dr Susie Scott
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