By Geoffrey Pearson
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Additional info for The Deviant Imagination: Psychiatry, Social Work and Social Change
5 5 The distinction which is asserted here is the same as that proposed by Szasz, although the language is different and has a 'European' flavour. Commentators on Laing's work have suggested that his departure from the traditions of psychiatric thought owes a considerable debt to his reading of European (that is, nonBritish) philosophers, and in particular the later work of Sartre. 66 However, this influence can be over-emphasised. The fact that we find the same methodological preoccupations in Laing's early work, for example, before his much celebrated reading of Sartre reduces the credibility of this claim.
These measures J would only increase the number of times other people could provide abortions for women; they would not increase the number of occasions on which women could make this decision for themselves. Such measures, therefore, give assent to the proposition that it is good to deny people the right to determine for themselves how they should use their bodies. 85 Here Szasz is arguing that the psychiatric mentality enslaves all men in its logic. Increasingly in his writings, however, he has come to place an emphasis on the manner in which psychiatry acts as a slavemaster of the State in controlling and suppressing deviant minorities.
The ideal of the social scientist ... was ... merely to be a spectator at the grand performance of Nature - but a spectator with the mentality of a mechanic. 59 Within this scientific paradigm the awkward, puckish qualities of human actors - their ability to make choices and fly in the face of constraining circumstances- could not be tolerated. B. F. Skinner, from the standpoint of a rigorous behaviourism, insists, for example, that 'we cannot apply the methods of science to a subject which is assumed to move about capriciously', and a working assumption of his psychology had to be that men did not have these changeable qualities.
The Deviant Imagination: Psychiatry, Social Work and Social Change by Geoffrey Pearson