thomas szasz - notes

thomas szasz - notes - Group Project [Sociology] Notes by...

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Group Project [Sociology] Notes by Ross Avilla (4-27-03) Book Information: Author: Thomas Szasz Title: Primary Values and Major Contentions: An Introduction to the Writings and Thoughts of America’s Most Controversial Psychiatrist Editors: Richard E. Vatz and Lee S. Weinberg Published: 1983 by Prometheus Books (Buffalo, New York) Notes from Ross about these notes: I centered my notes around quotes that I took from the book. I did this for a few reasons. That’s pretty much the way I normally take down book-notes, and it gives me a good opportunity to explain the main concepts in the book while being able to list functions and dysfunctions pertaining to those concepts. Furthermore, it gives you some quotes to work with in case you want to put them in the paper. I’ve ordered the quotes so the ones that are similar to each other are lumped together. Another thing I should mention is that I used quotations around a lot of words like “mental illness”, “sick” and “treatment”, because these usually pertain to words that are symbolically misinterpreted and misused when it comes to mental illness. The phrase “mental illness” itself is especially like this, because, as Szasz put it, “‘mental illness’ is a myth”. Anyway, I hope these notes give you a lot of helpful information on what to write in the essay and if you have any questions about anything in here e-mail me at Psychanitar@aol.com (and please put in the subject line something like “about sociology class” or “about group project” so that I don’t accidentally delete you message). Example of how these notes go: I) Header a. Explanation of the main topics behind the quote i. The quote itself 1. List of the functions and dysfunctions for either the patient, the psychiatrist, or society pertaining to what is said in the quote I) General Theory and Statements Made by Szasz About “Mental Illness” a. Szasz’ main point throughout the book was that “mental illness” is a misconception and that it isn’t a “sickness” at all. In actuality, “mental illness” is just a different way from living then what is expected of us by society’s norms. To use an extreme example, if someone takes a wiz at the dinner table, it isn’t because they are “sick” and need to be “treated”, it’s merely because they don’t live up to the our society’s set norms and limits on our behavior. It is their choice to urinate on their poor dinner guests and just because we see that choice as being the wrong one doesn’t give us the right to “treat” them as if they are “sick”. That example was a pretty ridiculous, but you get the picture. i. Quote: “mental illness is a metaphorical disease: that bodily illness stands in the same relation to mental illness as a defective television set stands to a bad television program. Of course, the word ‘sick’ is often used metaphorically. We call jokes ‘sick’, economics ‘sick’, and sometimes even the whole world ‘sick’; but only when we call minds ‘sick’ do we systematically mistake
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thomas szasz - notes - Group Project [Sociology] Notes by...

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