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September 1968

Psychiatry and the Status QuoA Political Analysis of Psychiatric Practice

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;19(3):257-265. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740090001001

THE psychiatrist occupies an uncertain position with regard to the social order. Some accuse him of being an agitator; one who under the protective mantle of medicine seeks to inflict his own values upon the social system. Others accuse him of being a member of the "establishment," a person who in his willingness to loan his services to preserving the status quo, ignores his responsibility to correct inequities in our society. The psychiatrist prefers to think of himself as a person committed to scientific objectivity. He is not eager to be identified as either a protagonist or critic of a political viewpoint. Yet, he is finding it more and more difficult to maintain objectivity or detachment. The overwhelming needs of a mass society and the moral demands created by the emergence of community psychiatry are forcing him to take a position on issues which

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