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A Critical Appraisal of the Concept of Medicalization for Understanding Dementia.

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  • Essay length: 4474 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Social Psychology

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A Critical Appraisal of the Concept of Medicalization for Understanding Dementia

The aim of this paper is to critically appraise the use of the concept of medicalization, as used by sociologists to examine dementia. It will examine medicalization and dementia and the association between the two. Three papers that have used medicalization to understand and explain dementia will be examined. The papers will be critically appraised on the strengths and limitations of the author's application of the concept. The study will use the arguments raised in the three papers to conclude whether the concept of medicalization can be used to understand dementia.

Sociologists have been concerned with medicalization for over three decades. The earliest mention focused on the medicalization of deviance (Pitts 1968). However, sociologists soon saw the concept's applicability to a wide range of human problems that had entered into medical jurisdiction (Friedson 1970; Zola 1972; Illich 1976). Medicalization simply describes a process by which non-medical problems become defined and treated as medical problems, usually in terms of illnesses or disorders. Although the literal meaning of the phrase is 'to make medical', it has most frequently been used in the context of a critique

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