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2020Spring

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This essay asks you to refer to the medicalization of behaviors that deviate from social norms.According to sociologist Allan Horwitz, the “medicalization of deviance” refers to:  … the tendency to define deviance as a manifestation of an underlying sickness, to find the causes of deviance within the individual rather than in the social structure, and to treat deviance through the intervention of medical personnel.Numerous advances in science and medicine have helped to create this paradigm shift toward a medical model of understanding deviant behavior. Other social forces have contributed as well.  The medicalization of deviant behavior reflects and redefines cultural norms; shifts responsibilities; reexamines the role of government intervention; has escalated pharmaceutical research and sales; has fostered increased reliance on health insurance; has expanded the role of the public education system; and has caused many to question the role of a prison system that has been defined comparatively and historically by extreme rates of imprisonment.
Constructing deviance as illness confers a moral status different from crime or sin. It impacts, in countless ways, “… ordinary people whose self-identity and life decisions may depend on the prevailing concepts of health and illness”.Reflecting on readings, lectures notes, and the topics and themes we’ve addressed throughout the semester, write a 2 pages, double spaced essay that critically examines “the medicalization of deviance”. Please keep in mind that this is not a formal essay, but rather a collection of ideas.