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Bruce A. Arrigo and Christopher R. Williams

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Chaos Theory and the Social Control Thesis: A Post-Foucauldian Analysis of Mental Illness and Involuntary Civil Confinement

Arrigo and Williams examine the vitality of Michel Foucault’s social control thesis in light of contemporary mental health and hospital law, with special emphasis on the psychiatric institution and the system of confinement for the mentally ill. The authors investigate the criteria of mental illness and dangerousness in relation to involuntary civil commitment determinations and seek to demonstrate how chaos theory enhances our understanding of the social control thesis and its implications for medical justice.

social control, civil rights — mental illness, mental illness — civil rights, psychiatry, social theory — chaos theory, Foucault, Michel

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 26, No. 1 (1999): 177-207