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Accidental IntoleranceHow We Stigmatize ADHD and How We Can Stop$
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Susan C. C. Hawthorne

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977383

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977383.001.0001

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Social Allies and Adversaries

Social Allies and Adversaries

(p.79) 3 Social Allies and Adversaries
Accidental Intolerance

Susan C. C. Hawthorne

Oxford University Press

Like the needs of medicine and science, the personal and social problems of ADHD-diagnosable people, their parents, teachers and school administrators, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and others shape the ADHD concept and its associated practices. “ADHD” now mixes medical and scientific facts with a rich blend of pragmatic and ethical values involving education, employment, profit, professional advancement, compassion, egalitarianism, social control, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, self-esteem, independence, responsibility, and social welfare. In turn, people take the adapted category and reshape institutional structures and practices in terms of ADHD, and the overlap in the vested needs and interests lends durability to the chosen model. The social needs and interests might have been addressed other ways, however. So, despite its current strength, the predominant model is unstable. Debates over efficacy, inequities in practice, and medicalization may eventually open the door to alternatives. To date, however, the co-constructed, DSM-based model of ADHD remains predominant.

Keywords:   ADHD, actor-network theory, education, special education, social construction, pharmaceutical industry, disability rights

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