Medicalization of Sociology


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Medicalization of Sociology

Sociologist utilizes several perspectives to explain individual motivations of deviance with an emphasis on biological, psychiatric, psychoanalytic, and psychological terms. The emergence of these ideals temporarily displaced social disorganization theory, which stresses a rapidly changing environment as the cause of deviant behavior. Social pathology seeks to explain deviance by evaluating conditions or circumstances, uniquely, affecting the individual. Sociological theories recognize the existense of social conditions that produce deviant behavior and how society identifies it.
Sociological pathology uses medical terms to offer explanations for deviant behavior. Terms, such as, biological, psychiatric models, psychoanalytical, and psychological presents deviant behavior as a “social sickness” which needs to treated and through medicine and psychiatric counseling. Biological explanations, usually, views deviant behavior as being an inherited trait. Cesare Lombroso was highly criticized for his studies of atavism, his theory of identifying criminal behavior as a biological degenerate. William Sheldon established an idea of a certain body build would be more prone to deviant or criminal acts. The psychiatric model view deviance as a product of some character flaw within the individual such as personal disorganization or a maladjusted personality. Under the psychiatric model, deviance is a symptom of some psychological sickness that effect individuals unless it is, effectively, detected and treated. Childhood experiences produce effects that transcend s those of all other social and cultural experiences. When these experiences are troubling to the individual it will also manifest itself as deviant behavior. The psychoanalytic explanation of deviance is best explained by Sigmund Freud’s basic conflict between the conscious and unconscious self. Psychoanalytic theory supporters say that deviance occur when the superego cannot effectively balance the id, unconscious and instinctual drives, and the ego, the conscious self. Psychological explanations attribute certain personality traits and behavioral patterns cause deviant acts. Psychologist attempt to explain deviance as products of abnormalities in psychological structures of individual deviants. They believe that inadequacies in personality traits interfere with an individual’s adjustment to society.
Social pathology and social disorganization shared similar premises as well as contrasting means to evaluate deviance. Social pathologists believed that they have identified universal criteria for a healthy society. The theory made decline because sociologists recognized the concept of cultural relativity, the view that judges cultures as being different not worse than one another. Social pathology and social disorganization were both accepted by individuals came from similar backgrounds.

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Social disorganizaton is made a recent comeback due to nature of sprawling urban centers. Many large cities are culturally diverse, and the conflicting culture results in deviant behavior. For example, on large college campuses virtually every major culture is represented, but on smaller college campuses there will be a smaller number of cultures represented. The larger college campuses may have more crime because there is a higher number of different norms being violated. On the other hand, the smaller college campus maintains a mechanical society and less crime because there is few culture conflicts.


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