9780415097000 / 0415097002

Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion?


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Publisher:Routledge, 1990



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About the book:

The idea of 'schizophrenia' as a disease has become profoundly influential both within the medical profession and amongst the general public. So strong is this idea that those who criticise it are apt to be dismissed as being either ignorant of the latest research or indifferent to the fate of the 'mentally ill'. Mary Boyle challenges such ideas by offering a detailed critique of the origins and development of the concept and diagnosis of schizophrenia. She shows how such diagnoses did and still do rely on opinion rather than evidence, how they were characterised by conceptual confusion, and how subsequent research has been misrepresented. She therefore questions the validity of schizophrenia as illness, but emphasises that this is not to deny the existence of bizarre behaviour. She offers alternative interpretations of such behaviour, and points out the need to ask searching questions about the labelling of some behaviour as symptomatic of mental illness. By focusing not on schizophrenics, but on those who diagnose schizophrenia, this book will undoubtedly attract criticism and debate. Yet her approach allows the author to question traditional interpretations of bizarre behaviour, and to make more central the social and ethical issues which surround it.

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