Coercion and Social Control

A Framework for Research on Aggressive Strategies in Community Mental Health
  • Anne M. Lovell
Part of the The Springer Series in Social Clinical Psychology book series (SSSC)


According to the philosopher Charles Taylor (1989), the moral origins of our viewpoints remain largely implicit until some challenge pushes them into the foreground. Coercion in involuntary hospitalization has been treated as a moral construct (Wertheimer, 1993), and preliminary research suggests that patients experience it as such (Bennett et al., 1993). Today, converging notions of person-centered care, individual rights, and the centrality of agency and personhood are shifting public debate in the United States from a focus on coercion in traditional, inpatient settings to evaluating its presence in community care. Opponents of coercive practices propose empowering alternatives, while proponents question whether psychiatric treatment is even possible without a sanctioned system of coercion (Gellner, cited in Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, 1994). Research on the imposition of mental health interventions in community settings will not provide answers to the ethical questions raised. However, it can problematize coercion as a moral construct while examining its effect as a treatment strategy.


Mental Health Social Control Assertive Community Treatment Community Psychology Cultural Distance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne M. Lovell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of ToulouseToulouse, CedexFrance

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