The idea of "schizophrenia" as a disease has become profoundly influential both within the medical profession and amongst the general public. So strong is this idea that those who criticize it are apt to be dismissed as being either ignorant of the latest research or indifferent to the fate of the "mentally ill". This book challenges such ideas by offering a detailed critique of the origins and development of the concept and diagnosis of schizophrenia. Mary Boyle shows how such diagnoses did and still do rely on opinion rather than evidence, how they were characterized by conceptual confusion, and how subsequent research has been misrepresented. She therefore questions the validity of schizophrenia as illness, but emphasizes thatm this is not to deny the existence of bizarre behaviour. She offers alternative interpretations of such behaviour, and points out the need to ask searching questions about the labelling of some behaviour as symptomatic of mental illness. By focusing not on schizophrenics, but on those who diagnose schizophrenia, this book will undoubtedly attract some criticism and debate. Yet her approach allows the author to question traditional interpretations of bizarre behaviour, and to make more central the social and ethical issues which surround it.

chapter Chapter one|15 pages

Evaluating the validity of ‘schizophrenia’

chapter Chapter six|43 pages

Genetic research

chapter Chapter seven|17 pages

An analysis of arguments used to support ‘schizophrenia’

chapter Chapter eight|15 pages

Why has ‘schizophrenia’ survived?