The Identity of Psychiatry and the Challenge of Mad Activism: Rethinking the Clinical Encounter

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (6):598-622 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Central to the identity of modern medical specialities, including psychiatry, is the notion of hypostatic abstraction: doctors treat conditions or disorders, which are conceived of as “things” that people “have.” Mad activism rejects this notion and hence challenges psychiatry’s identity as a medical specialty. This article elaborates the challenge of Mad activism and develops the hypostatic abstraction as applied to medicine. For psychiatry to maintain its identity as a medical speciality while accommodating the challenge of Mad activism, it must develop an additional conception of the clinical encounter. Toward elaborating this conception, this article raises two basic framing questions: For what kind of understanding of the situation should the clinical encounter aim? What is the therapeutic aim of the encounter as a whole? It proposes that the concepts of “secondary insight” and of “identity-making” can allow the clinical encounter to proceed in a way that accommodates the challenge of Mad activism.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 79,898

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Wonder and the clinical encounter.H. M. Evans - 2012 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 33 (2):123-136.
Defining Activism.Marcelo Svirsky - 2010 - Deleuze and Guatarri Studies 4 (Suppl):163-182.
Power and hope in the clinical encounter: A meditation on vulnerability.Richard M. Zaner - 2000 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 3 (3):263-273.
The phenomenology of shame in the clinical encounter.Luna Dolezal - 2015 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (4):567-576.
Narrative Ethics and Intersectionality.Elizabeth Lanphier & Uchenna Anani - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (2):29-31.
Clinical judgment, moral anxiety, and the limits of psychiatry.Bradley Murray - 2017 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 20 (4):495-501.
A Window Into Richard M. Zaner’s Clinical Ethics.Osborne P. Wiggins & John Z. Sadler - 2004 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (1):1-6.


Added to PP

33 (#368,584)

6 months
7 (#129,225)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Mohammed Rashed
Birkbeck College

References found in this work

Embodied Selves and Divided Minds.Michelle Maiese - 2015 - Oxford University Press UK.
Concepts of Health and Disease.Christopher Boorse - 2011 - In Fred Gifford (ed.), Philosophy of Medicine. Elsevier. pp. 16--13.
Kinds of kinds: A conceptual taxonomy of psychiatric categories.Nick Haslam - 2002 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 9 (3):203-217.
Spiritual Experience and Psychopathology.K. W. M. Fulford & Mike Jackson - 1997 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 4 (1):41-65.

View all 23 references / Add more references