Article/Publication Details

Social Pathology, Or Social Deviation?

(Original title: Sociálna patológia, alebo deviácia?)
Filozofia, 2001, vol. 56, No 6, pp. 398-413.
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Abstract

For denoting ill, abnormal, generally undesirable social phenomena the term social pathology is most often accepted. It embodies also the sanctioned forms of deviant behaviour and the study of the causal relations of their origin and existence. The difficulty with delimitating precisely what is pathological stems from the fact that we are not able to give a satisfactory definition of the normal. The normal cannot be identified with the mediocrity. The paper supports the view that the normality is opposite to anomy. The analogy to pathologization is "medicinalization" stemming out from the principle that while a deviant person, e.g. an offender of a crime, is as a rule responsible for his deed, in other kinds of offences the offender is usually referred to as "ill" (e.g. drug addicted) and while an ill person cannot be expected to be responsible for his/her deeds, he/she must be "cured" (hence the "medicinalization"). In this way the person is not only disburdened of his/her deed, but also of his/her responsibility. A negative phenomenon accompanying the pathologization and medicinalization is d e p r i v i n g sociology, social pedagogy and social work of their competencies in favour of medicine (most often of psychiatry) or pathopsychology. As a result the remedy is reduced to "therapy" and "custody" with consequent labelling of the persons concerned. The author sees social pathology as a branch of sociology investigating negative phenomena which result from social deviation and which are to a decisive degree the subject matter of social work.

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