Mentalism, disability rights and modern eugenics in a 'brave new world'

Diane Wiener, Rebecca Ribeiro, Kurt Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


What are some of the implications of the various ways in which contemporary allopathic medicine is presumably 'treating' or aiming to 'prevent' the development of certain mental health 'concerns', often labeled 'illnesses'? In this essay the co-authors adopt the position that 'mainstream' medicine seems to be taking some dangerous turns and that these turns have serious potential consequences for human variance and diversity. The authors believe that genetic testing and medication for bipolar disorder are problematic illustrations of the ways in which a 'brave new world' is now being foreshadowed and, unfortunately, will perhaps be realized in the near future. In order to frame our discussion, we incorporate close readings of literary and cinematic texts. The essay is situated by a discussion regarding 'mentalism' and the consumer/survivor/ex-patient rights and disability rights movements. Specific implications for the fields of social work, rehabilitation and mental health practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-610
Number of pages12
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomedicine
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Disability rights
  • Eugenics
  • Mental illness
  • Social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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