The DSM as a Moving Laboratory: The Role of the Diagnostic Manual in the Stabilizing and Objectivization of Pharmaceutical Reason
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Nicolaus Copernicus University
Publication date: 2015-03-30
Polish Sociological Review 2015;189(1):85–106
The aim of this article is to trace the paradigm shift that occurred in psychiatry in the 1970s. This change had a key impact on the social perception of health and illness. The theoretical framework of the text is actor-network theory (ANT) and science and technology studies (STS), which deal with the influence of technoscience on society. Using the model of laboratory practice produced within their framework, I attempt to show how the creation of a new diagnostic manual resembled constructing an innovation in a special environment for the purpose of achieving replicable results and controlling the invention’s operation outside the context of creation. In the second part of the text I will deal with the new medical rationale, defining the concept of ‘pharmaceutical reason’ and linking its model of human health with the process of biomedicalization. At the end I cite research referring to the use of the diagnostic manual in medical practice.
This article is the result of research conducted within the framework of a project entitled The Biomedicalization of Hyperactivity: A Sociological Study on the Emergence of a Disorder as a Social Fact. The project was financed by funds from the National Science Center Poland on the basis of decision number DEC- 2013/11/N/HS6/00991.