The politics of ADHD

Year: 2006

Author: Graham, Linda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This essay offers a critical review of the problem we call “ADHD”. In the first part of the discussion, the author presents an analysis of the literature surrounding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Adopting a lens informed by the work of Foucault, she teases out the medical and psychological models to show the interdependency between these otherwise competing knowledge‐domains. She argues that as it currently stands the construct serves political ends and questions whether a diagnosis of ADHD is helpful ‐ and if so, for whom? In the second part, the author considers what role schooling practices might play in the pathologisation of children and interrogates the ADHD phenomenon as a symptom of the pathologies of schooling. Graham concludes by suggesting how we might arrest the rising rate of diagnosis by thinking about difference in more inclusive ways.