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Stephan Pfohl - 2 Pediatric Radiology and Psychodynamic...

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Stephan Pfohl: "The 'Discovery' of Child Abuse" (in Pontell, 2005) Societal reaction to (and therefore individual reaction o) deviance is a complex social-cultural-historical process based on shifting definitions, organizational interests and professional expertise. The "reaction" and the "deviance" are mutually interrelated phenomenon. In the discovery of child abuse we see the culmination of these processes in the production of a new medical syndrome in 1962: Battered Child Syndrome. Significant elements which led up to this discovery include: Changes in: 1. The social image of children. 2. Assumptions that formed the basis of our understanding of the "causes" of deviance. 3. The organization of Social Control The social organization of the medical profession: 1. ER doctors were unaware, unwilling (perhaps) and restrained by confidentiality and fear of loss of control.
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Unformatted text preview: 2. Pediatric Radiology and Psychodynamic Psychiatry were removed from the immediacy of the situation and stood to gain in professional status: The most idealized mission of the profession: "To label as illness what was not previously labeled at all, or labeled in some other fashion." • Once "medicalized" the idea spreads: Interests of social workers, lobbying efforts of the medical profession, and the role of the media. • Resistance was weak: Labelers==> Middle class, 'removed' from abusers. Abusers==> Lower class; no power. • With continued acceptance==> further spread and continued medicalization. Definition of abuse has broadened, and need for treatment has become a preventive reality. • 1993: 50,000 calls in the State of Missouri. • 2003: 108,685 calls...
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