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Social Control and Serious Mental Illness: Understanding and Challenging Current Ideologies

Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy

ISBN: 978-1-78756-049-9, eISBN: 978-1-78756-048-2

ISSN: 2053-7697

Publication date: 4 July 2019

Abstract

While deinstitutionalization has changed how and where those with serious mental illness receive mental health treatment, the high rate of homelessness among those with mental illness, the number of mentally ill incarcerated, and the general inadequacy and underfunded nature of public psychiatric resources suggest an inadequate social reaction to their needs. While United States (US) policies have appeared to deemphasize long-term confinement in hospitals, the author contends that various ideologies maintain a process of social control whereby those with serious mental illness continue to be minimized and disempowered within American society.

The author presents three different ideologies for examination: the “otherness” of mental illness, stigma and social exclusion, and perspectives of dangerousness. These ideologies are hypothesized to limit the social capital and power of those with serious mental illness. Considering Antonio Gramsci’s definition of hegemony and “common sense,” this chapter urges a challenge to these hardened ideologies if those with serious mental illness are to have greater inclusion in US society.

Keywords

Citation

Gjesfjeld, C.D. (2019), "Social Control and Serious Mental Illness: Understanding and Challenging Current Ideologies", Rabe-Hemp, C.E. and Lind, N.S. (Ed.) Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 141-153. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2053-769720190000031010

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, by Christopher Donald Gjesfjeld