Children's Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder self-help books and the politics of correction




Gold, Rachel Sira

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AD/HD is a prevalent medical diagnosis given to 3-7% of children in British Columbia. Since the diagnosis’ inception in 1902, children’s behaviour has been described in similar ways, but labels to define it have continuously changed, reflecting the diagnosis’ mutability and connection to shifting discourses of normativity. An analysis of moments in the text of 13 children’s self-help books illuminates that the process books refer to as correction is actually a disciplinary process exercised in children’s social relations, which guide them to act according to socially constructed notions of normative behaviour. I draw two conclusions from my research: (a) the correction of AD/HD-diagnosed children is a political process supported by a complex network of power relations and (b) diagnosed children’s lives are emmeshed in practices of disciplinary power that establish, and maintain, their state of being normalised.



AD/HD, ADD, Children's literature, Self-help, Foucault, Discipline