Queering the Sociology of Diagnosis: Children and the Constituting of ‘Mentally Ill’ Subjects

  • Brenda A. LeFrançois School of Social Work, Memorial University
  • Shaindl Diamond


A queer theory informed analysis of the findings of an ethnographic study detailing the experiences of children in relation to diagnosis within a psychiatric hospital is provided in this article.  The perspective of the diagnosing psychiatrist in relation to symptoms and diagnoses is compared to the children’s understandings, along with an analysis of the consequences of the normative approach inherent to bio-medical psychiatrization. The dehumanising process of psychiatric diagnosis, which strips people of their dignity, leads to what we have termed psychiatrised abjection.  The act of diagnosis is shown not only to categorize, but also to ‘other’, to make abject and to make queer