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Understanding Health Inequalities and JusticeBridging Perspectives for New Conversations$
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Mara Buchbinder, Michele Rivkin-Fish, and Rebecca Walker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469630359

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469630359.001.0001

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Justice, Respect, and Recognition in Mental Health Services

Justice, Respect, and Recognition in Mental Health Services

Theoretical and Testimonial Accounts

(p.185) 7 Justice, Respect, and Recognition in Mental Health Services
Understanding Health Inequalities and Justice

Paul Brodwin

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter raises a key question for the interdisciplinary study of health and justice: is dialogue possible between theoretical models and first-person testimony about the harms caused by injustice? To consider this question, the chapter examines the claim that disrespect—the systematic devaluation of others in a way that excludes them from reciprocal social relations—is a form of injustice. The philosopher Stephen Darwall and social theorist Axel Honneth conceptually elucidate the links between justice, respect, and recognition. Their normative arguments offer a high-order conceptual framework for recognizing people’s equal worth as human beings (and the harmful effects of denying such recognition). This chapter compares their abstract frameworks with a landmark autobiography by a founder of the psychiatric survivor movement. The search for commensurability between these texts exposes the precise difference between experience-far and experience-near genres of ethical expression. This chapter adopts a similar approach as DeBruin et al. (this volume) in examining popular cultural discourses in light of formal theory. Both chapters take seriously the lay narratives and forms of ethical argumentation that circulate outside the academy. Both envision a plural ethics of justice and health that acknowledges how ordinary people interpret and respond to institutionalized oppression in health-care services.

Keywords:   Interdisciplinary, Respect, Psychiatric survivor, Commensurability, Justice, Cultural discourse

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