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Is Madness An Individual Attribute Or A Process Of Social Construction?

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  • Essay length: 3191 words
  • Submitted: 14/10/2004
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GCSE Sociology

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Is Madness An Individual Attribute Or A Process Of Social Construction?

Madness is a largely contentious issue for a variety of reasons, comprising of operational discrepancies and its implications for wider society. In a very rudimentary sense madness implies a state of insanity beyond the control or will of the person considered to be mad. This however presupposes the existence of madness as tangible or concrete phenomena and dismisses the possibility that 'madness' may simply be the product or expression of alternate truths or different expressions of reality. In other words one may question whether the behaviour of the individual is abnormal enough to be located outside the realm of normal human functioning and whether the reason behind this is truly 'madness'? These questions are ultimately philosophical and ultimately unanswerable. But asking such questions does not entirely unrewarding, since it is our societal understand which informs our treatment of the mad. Principal to this essay is an understanding of social representations of madness, which comprise of notions what is assumed to be normal within a society, wherein lies the danger of relegating the experiences of the mentally ill as abnormal and something to be rejected. Subsequently, in order

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