Medicalization of Childhood

Medicalisation describes the tendency for problems of life to be reconceptualised in medical terms. This entry discusses the history of the medicalisation of childhood specifically as it relates to the construction of particular notions of the ‘child’. The following section outlines the issues within the domain of theory and its views of the shifting relationship between individuals and societal and political institutions. Next, the creation of the modern category of childhood is described in the context of emerging categories of personhood in the modern era. The entry continues with an exploration of the ways in which the medicalisation of childhood has been institutionalised in the practice of obstetrics and paediatrics and in the definitions of what has come to be considered as ‘normal’ and ‘pathological’, ...

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