Abstract submission, brief update

Been working on a review, but all of my brain space has been put into resident government.  I’m the president.  And the bureaucracy kills me.  I also have to finish up med school applications.  Most likely, not a whole lot will be written here until May.  Unless I get super bummed out, like right now.  I just need a writing break.  So I will write.  I will post updates.  I will work on my blog when I should be finishing my personal statement.

Here’s an abstract I just submitted to a conference.  I don’t usually much care for academic things, but my application needs a boost as I rev up and get ready to head into interviews.  It’s good exercise, in any case, and if either of the conferences accept my paper, I’ll have the opportunity to keep developing this line of thinking.

In light of the recent release of much heralded and criticized DSM-V, this paper will detail the history of the twin rise of psychiatric positivism and anti-psychiatric relativism that characterizes mainstream discourse on psychiatric classification from the 1960s to the present day.  Society underwent major changes in the 1960s and ‘70s, and the doctor-patient relationship was revolutionized via the deinstitutionalization movement and nascent psychopharmacology.  Old modes of psychiatric thinking became both intellectually and practically untenable within new frameworks of thought and practice and were thereby vulnerable to critique, centrally from cultural relativist and historicist perspectives.  Positivist research dealt with this crisis through the mathematization of psychiatric knowledge. This project developed throughout the 1970s and was the major intellectual inspiration for DSM-III in 1980.  Symptom choice remained a culturally bound phenomenon, but operationalization provided unerring scientific validation of symptom clustering.  This project was however abandoned in the concrete process of ratification within the American Psychiatric Association.  Statistical tests that showed reliability of diagnosis—rather than validity—provided the scientific stand-in for this failure in translational research.  Critique of psychiatric practice follows similar arguments as in the 1960s and, rather than being ignored, probably supports central elements of contemporary mainstream psychopharmacological practice.

That’s it.  I should also be able to write a discussion about my recently gassed thread on SomethingAwful tonight if it does not take too much time.


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