Marxism, Social Psychology, and the Sociology of Mental Health

International Journal of Health Services (Impact Factor: 0.88). 02/1984; 14(2):237-64. DOI: 10.2190/H82D-NBGF-3EYH-3AFY
Source: PubMed


The political activism of the 1960s brought with it activism in the mental health field, broadly defined as antipsychiatry. Included in this social phenomenon are R.D. Laing and his colleagues, mental patients' rights activists, movements against psycho-technological abuses such as psychosurgery, Marxist and radical critiques of mainstream psychiatric practices, and feminist therapy. Some aspects of this broad movement have been influenced or even directed by Marxist perspectives. When Marxist influences have not predominated, antipsychiatric points of view still have much affinity with Marxism. This broad-based criticism of mental health practices and ideologies not only influences the mental health field, but also affects general Marxist social theory, adding to traditional Marxism a concern with feminist issues and the politics of personal and family life. This article explores the progress made by these antipsychiatric perspectives, and examines their limitations as well. Four schools of thought in Marxist psychology--Freudo-Marxism, orthodox-economist Marxism, see Marxist medical model, and "ideology-critique"--are explored to see how they can contribute to the further production of Marxist psychological theory and practice.

174 Reads
  • Source
    • "For example, various networks and groups related to maternity and childbirth grew out of the feminist movement (Lewin and Olesen 1985, Bastian 1998, Doyal 1998, Tew 1998). A mental health user movement also developed which grew from the experiences of those living with a mental illness, and aimed to represent their perspective (Brown 1984, Crossley 1999, Rogers and Pilgrim 2001). Similarly, movements related to disability (Campbell and Oliver 1996), HIV/AIDS (Epstein 1996, Weeks et al. 1996, Berridge 2002), gay and lesbian health (Weeks, Holland and Waites 2003) and health and environmental pollution (Brown et al. 2003) have developed from issues of concern to people in their everyday lives (Martin 2001). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper argues that a health consumer movement has developed in the United Kingdom over the last decade. Drawing on two empirical studies of groups that promote and/or represent the interests of patients, users and carers, it argues that groups formed by people with personal experience of a condition are now more widespread. Feelings of pain and loss can lead to the identification of others in a similar position, and to the formation of groups and action in the political sphere. Research shows that groups share a common discourse and follow similar participative practices, and there is extensive networking. Informal and formal alliances have formed to pursue joint action and indicate a wider health consumer movement. As governments have also increased the opportunities for participation, this has the potential for patients and carers to shape services in ways more responsive to their needs.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2004 · Sociology of Health & Illness
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It has been suggested that the fiscal crises experienced in many industrial nations has been made worse by the drain on the state's economy of an ever-growing welfare state. Proposals to decentralize funding for health and welfare services, and to rely more on local, private, and ‘grass roots’ services, have been received enthusiastically. The question raised in this paper is whether the shift away from provision by the state will bring about a more or less equitable distribution of resources. The paper considers the spatial distribution of treatment services for two groups of the population who have become largely dependent on the state: namely, the mentally ill and alcoholics. The results suggest that as the federal government withdraws from the provision of services, neither the states nor the localities can be relied on to guarantee a minimum level of services to the truly needy. In the case of alcoholism services there is also some question about whether ‘grass-roots’ provision would be sufficiently responsive to the distribution of needs.
    No preview · Article · Dec 1986 · Social Science & Medicine
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This research explores a particular case study of the regulation of bodies within a discourse of knowledge and provides examples of resistance to such control. Following Foucault, there has been increasing interest in how discourses of knowledge exert regulatory power over bodies and how the site of social control becomes the body itself. This paper is especially interested in how AIDS activism illustrates the power struggle between medical authority and patient non-compliance. In concrete terms, the discussion includes: the surveillance of the body and the concern over medical compliance as affirmations of the power of medical authorities; examples of organized resistance to this discourse of knowledge; the resistance activities of people with AIDS (PWA) groups and AIDS activists; and the implications and possible directions of this model.
    No preview · Article · Oct 1992 · Critical Sociology