Shifting boundaries between the normal and the pathological : the case of mild intellectual disability

Cooper, Rachel (2014) Shifting boundaries between the normal and the pathological : the case of mild intellectual disability. History of Psychiatry, 25 (2). pp. 171-186. ISSN 0957-154X

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When disorders fade into normality, how can the threshold between normality and disorder be determined? In considering mild intellectual disability, I argue that economic factors partly determine thresholds. We tend to assume that the relationship between disorder, need and services is such that: first, a cut-off point between the disordered and the normal is determined; second, a needy population is identified; and third, resources are found (or at least should be found) to meet this need. However, the changing definitions of intellectual disability can best be understood if we think of this happening in reverse. That is, first, certain resources are thought obtainable, and then a cut-off point for disorder is selected which supplies an appropriately sized ‘needy population’.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
History of Psychiatry
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The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, History of Psychiatry, 25 (2), 2014, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2014 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the History of Psychiatry page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? boundaries of disordereconomicsintellectual disabilitymoron thresholdpsychiatry and mental health ??
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22 May 2014 12:44
Last Modified:
18 Dec 2023 01:25