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The Diagnostic System


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1. The Contested Ontology of Psychiatric Disorders 2. What Diagnoses Are: DSM-III and the Form of Contemporary Psychiatric Diagnoses 3. DSM-III and the Descriptive Science of Psychiatric Disorders 4. Rethinking the DSM 5. How Professionals Use Diagnoses 6. How the Public Uses Diagnoses 7. How Scientists Use the DSM 8. How Cultures Use Diagnoses 9. The Contemporary Science of Psychiatric Nosology 10. The Endless Search for Validity 11. The Endurance of the Diagnostic System Notes Index

About the Author

Jason Schnittker is a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and Contexts, among others.


The particular strength of this very well-written critique of psychiatric diagnosis is to examine how the DSM has a variety of constituencies-clinicians, researchers, patients, and the general public-that each has its own way of approaching the manual. -- Allan Horwitz, Board of Governors Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University In an area too often marked by advocacy and polemic, The Diagnostic System provides a well-informed, judicious, and, in fact, invaluable guide to a complex body of scholarship and controversy. Perhaps most important, it addresses those complex interrelationships between individual experience and the social, cultural, and institutional circumstances that in part constitute that experience. It is an important book on a foundational if elusive set of questions. -- Charles E. Rosenberg, professor of the history of science and medicine and the Ernest E. Monrad Professor in the Social Sciences, Harvard University

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