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The drive to diagnose people (particularly Westerners in rich democracies) with psychological disorders (sometimes to prescribe patented pharmaceutical drugs) has been seen as an important force behind medicalization and the resulting medicalist philosophies

Medicalism is a philosophy in which a phenomenon (e.g. Transsexuality in Transmedicalism) is seen as a disorder, because it has become medicalized. Hard Medicalists often subscribe to the idea that self-acknowledgement of the disorder or condition is necessary for a person to adopt a given identity. These individuals are sometimes part of the so-called pro-recovery movement.

Medicalization as a phenomenon

Medicalization refers to the creation of a medical/psychiatric category for a human condition not previously considered to be a condition requiring medical treatment. Medicalization can be driven by new evidence or hypotheses about conditions; by changing social attitudes or economic considerations; or by the development of new medications or treatments. In this sense, medicalization can be seen as codification of moral, social and economic values and priorities, when viewed through a social constructionist lens.

Public health campaigns have been criticized as a form of "healthism", which is moralistic in nature rather than primarily focused on health. Medical doctors Petr Shkrabanek and James McCormick wrote a series of publications on this topic in the late 1980s and early 1990s criticizing the UK's Health of The Nation campaign. These publications exposed abuse of epidemiology and statistics by public health authorities and organizations to support lifestyle interventions and screening programs. Inculcating a fear of ill-health and a strong notion of individual responsibility has been derided as "health fascism" by some scholars as it objectifies the individual without considering emotional or social factors.[1][2][3][4]

MAPs and Medicalism

MAPs and allies who subscribe to a medicalist philosophy have variably been described as Pedmeds and Mapmedicalists. Neither of these terms is widely used.

When the German psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing first introduced the psychiatric concept of pedophilia in his Psychopathia Sexualis: eine Klinisch-Forensische Studie (Sexual Psychopathy: A Clinical-Forensic Study) in the early 20th century, pederasty (and adult-child sexual activities and desires) first became "medicalized," in other words, subject to medical diagnosis and treatment.

Von Krafft-Ebing based the theories he expressed in his book on very little actual clinical data - a handful of reported "clinical treatments" by other psychiatrists of a few (so-called) "sexually deranged persons". He "invented" the concept of what he called "paedophilia erotica", which was later shortened in English to "paedophilia" (American spelling: pedophilia). Prior to this, scholars of pederasty had referred to pedophilia in juxtaposition to their own "high ideals", so therefore Krafft-Ebing did not "invent pedophilia" per se, as is often stated.

MAP organizations exist on a spectrum

Various organizations of the present day, take differing positions on the topic of MAPs and medicalism.

  • Preventionism-informed initiatives and Virtuous Pedophiles tend towards the hard end of the spectrum.
  • The nonprofit, Prostasia Foundation (in initiatives it supports geared towards MAPs) allows for more open discussion of the topic.
  • B4U-ACT, a nonprofit founded (in part) by MAPs, has a medicalist-informed focus, but similarly avoids pushing an official line to declare pedophilia as a disorder. Many members are in favor of declassification.
  • Newgon explicitly pushes for declassification, concurring with writers such as Philip Tromovitch.

See also

External links