culture and illness

Sam Pawlett epawlett at
Fri Dec 18 16:27:32 PST 1998

Alec Ramsdell wrote:

> Pardon all the posts. I'm at work . . .
> > It bothers me too, and it's a cornerstone to the med model. Once in
> > treatment all of a sudden one's past changes. Events, behaviours,
> > memories, are all lined up under a master addict narrative, as
> > slipshod as that narrative may be. Retroactively one was born an
> > addict.
> This retroactive assignation could be considered as a structural
> caricature of the transference between analyst and analysand outlined
> by Zizek in the "Back to the Future" part of the Sublime Object of
> Ideology.
> The unresolved issue is the political position a critique like this
> makes. It could be seen as counter-productive politically to
> deconstruct this identity this way, insomuch as the position of
> "addict" implies the right to entitlements. Taking that position away
> could play into the hands of the personal responsibility crowd. But
> then as we know addicts and alcoholics no longer qualify for benefits.
> Also, I understand Thomas Zsasz (sp?) has done much work on this.
> Sedgwick says he tends towards the totalitarian though. Has anyone
> read him?
> Alec
> _________________________________________________________
> Get your free address at

I've never read Szasz but Sedgewick in his book Psycho Politics has a good summary and critique of him, Foucault and Laing. I do know that Szasz is a crusading right wing libertarian with all that entails. If we are living in the consumer paradise the conservatives say we are, why is there so much depression, suicide and drug abuse? The largest section in any mainstream bookshop is the 'self-help' section. After Roger(what's his name?) and the labor party implemented the model in New Zealand didn't the suicide rate skyrocket?(Ditto for Russia) I seem to remember Jane Kelsey in her wonderful book talking about this.I'd love to hear what Carrol Cox thinks about anti-psychiatry and the medical model.

Sam Pawlett

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