Marine Le Pen ordered to submit to psychiatric evaluation over Islamic State execution tweets
Opinion – Back in my undergrad days I began to realize and write about just how closely psychiatry and social power are linked. Not only social power but also legal power.
The average psychiatrist probably doesn’t think about this too much. They’re too wrapped up in the “truth” (as they see it) of their discipline. A few facile, philosophically and often scientifically weak studies are enough to convince them that they are on the right track. Who cares if these women and men of science are just indicators of what’s going on in a given society? It’s science. And science gives us all the answers.
The above story is a great example of politics, law and power merging with the alleged “truth” of science. And these links take it even further.
After completing a Comparative Religion M.A. in India I became even more aware of how culture intersects with psychiatric truth claims. While taking my doctorate back in Canada, I wrote a paper about it for probably the worst professor I ever had.¹
Mind you, there are good shrinks out there. I don’t agree that they’re all nasty narcissistic creeps who can memorize a medical textbook but not think their way out of a wet paper bag. No, that’s a simplification of a complex scene. However, I think there are some who really need to be held accountable.
¹ I don’t say this lightly. The prof gave me an “A” in his course but after reluctantly agreeing to provide a letter of recommendation for postdoc awards, later changed his mind and flatly refused to do so without even looking at my proposal. The professor had the audacity to suggest that I try to obtain a letter from my undergrad professors (because he didn’t want to write one and India was too far away back then). Any idiot would know that a letter from undergrad profs would not cut the mustard for postdoc awards. But that’s the shoddy advice I received. Was the professor afraid of the topic? Why did he give me such bad advice? I still don’t know to this day because he scornfully refused to discuss the matter.