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The glow and shadows of Medicine
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences. (SEC/Praxeologi)
2009 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The presentation focuses the formation of specific groups, their interests and positions related to children with disabilities and their education and care in Sweden developed during 1960-1980. The theoretical framework is based on Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological theory of social space, which assumes that social life is based on symbolic and cultural systems of beliefs with respectively specific doxas and symbolic economies. Consequently, the analysis has focused on the agents’ position-takings and their struggle for recognition and preferential rights of interpretations.

The reconstruction of a “habilitation sphere” was conducted through agents, their positions of interests and position-takings as analytical tools. The positions were mainly reconstructed on articles in journals of 10 professional organizations covering 6 occupations and 4 disability organizations. The occupational groups were paediatric doctors/child psychiatrists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists and pre-school teachers. The other positions were related to the county council union, four disability organizations (DHR, FUB, RBU and HCK), two of which were parent organizations and in addition, the research field of social medicine. Other materials were e.g. reports of commissions of inquiry. In order to explore the social foundations of the occupational positions, materials from archives have been used.

The conclusion shows the significance of: a) historical structures related to the exceptional position of medicine in society, the development of the Swedish health care system in general and the organizations of “special” children, b) commissions of inquiry as consecration authorities and processes of social mobilization, both important contributions in shaping symbolic economies, c) myths and ideologies in the exercising of symbolic power, d) alliances between the state and medicine, and between occupational groups and clients. The analysis also shows the strengths of the doxas which could work as a shield for the agents but also as obstacles for external agents when entering the habilitation sphere.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
habilitation services, children, handicap, disability, medicine, social workers, counsellors, pre-school teachers, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, parent organizations, disability organizations, symbolic power, sociology of culture
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Sociology of Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-145506OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-145506DiVA: diva2:396287
ISIH - In Sickness and in Health, 3rd International conference “Government of the Self in the Clinic & Community”, April 15 - 17, 2009, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Available from: 2011-02-09 Created: 2011-02-09 Last updated: 2011-11-03

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