This article examines the ways in which psychiatrists differentially deploy schizophrenia and addiction diagnoses among white, privately insured patients in comparison with black and Latino patients in a public psychiatric unit. Drawing on critical race theory and the anthropology of moral agency, the article tracks the ways in which the overlapping and competing diagnostic frames of schizophrenia and addiction are structured by, and structure, the personhood and political position of those who are subjected to them. It ends by identifying and tracking these logics of diagnosis and treatment, and their racially stratifying influence, in recent calls for integration of mental health with physical health care. Enhancing the agency of people who are subject to psychiatric diagnoses, and dampening the racializing and segregating impulse of diagnoses, ultimately requires clinical rejection of codified “evidence-based medicine” in favor of spaces that serve, following Cheryl Mattingly, as moral laboratories for creating social selves.
- Moral agency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science