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Diagnostic Powers: What a new diagnosis tells us about current workings of medicine.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay researches current workings of medicine in relation to contested, female diagnoses. This is made by looking at the construction of the new psychological diagnosis Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) in Swedish media, and relating it to a current trend seen in medicine; to medicalize women’s underperformance. A qualitative content analysis of 19 articles is conducted, showing that PMDD is constructed as; a biomedical fact and individual problem; a serious disease owned by the sufferers; and as something written out of the women’s self-image as a “not me”. These constructions are analysed with a theoretical framework built around the concept biomedicalisation, which we conceptualise as an exertion of biopower that shapes subjects in line with neoliberal ideals. Biopower is a concept from the Foucauldian notion of Governmentality, and describes power working on micro levels, through for example truth discourses, to make individuals understand and work on themselves as biological subjects. Our analysis shows that biopower can be seen to work through the different constructions of PMDD to shape self-managing, healthy subjects that are willing to biomedically change themselves in accordance with an ideological normal, but that this normal differs from that seen in research on other contested female diagnoses. To conclude we suggest that it would be more fruitful to look at biomedicalisation to understand current workings on female contested diagnoses, than to look at the trend on medicalisation of underperformance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 50 p.
Keyword [en]
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, PMDD, Biomedicalisation, Biopower, Contested Diagnosis
National Category
Social Sciences Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-50812OAI: diva2:912355
Subject / course
Available from: 2016-03-16 Created: 2016-03-16 Last updated: 2016-03-16Bibliographically approved

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Lorensson, Malin
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Department of Social Studies
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