Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 171–189 | Cite as

Textual Standardization and the DSM-5 “Common Language”

  • Patty A. Kelly


In February 2010, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) launched their DSM-5 website with details about the development of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The APA invited “the general public” to review the draft diagnostic criteria and provide written comments and suggestions. This revision marks the first time the APA has solicited public review of their diagnostic manual. This article analyzes reported speech on the DSM-5 draft diagnostic criteria for the classification Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. It demonstrates how textual standardization facilitates the cultural portability of the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria such that a community of speakers beyond the borders of the APA come to be seen as exemplary speakers, writers, and revisers of the professional style. Furthermore, analysis shows how co-authoring practices recontextualize the “voice” and persona of putative patient reported speech on Criterion D2. As a consequence of textual standardization, spoken discourse becomes recontextualized as the product of scientific inquiry and the organization of psychiatric knowledge.


Diagnostic criteria DSM-5 Posttraumatic stress disorder Reported speech Textual standardization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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