Maladjusted to injustice? Political agency, medicalization, and the user/survivor movement

Dan Degerman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
172 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines the factors that shape the political agency of psychiatric service users/survivors. I begin by outlining an Arendtian framework for thinking about political agency and its sources. I then use this framework to explore the politically empowering and disempowering factors that users/survivors face, drawing upon evidence from the writings of user/survivor activists and organisations, newspaper articles, and psychiatric professional publications, published in the UK between 2006 and 2016. The insights of this examination are of wider interest for two reasons. Firstly, they elucidate the obstacles to political action facing the growing number of people diagnosed with mental disorders. Secondly, they suggest what a future in which politics is increasingly fought out in medical terms means for citizens’ political agency generally.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalCitizenship Studies
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020


  • Political agency
  • medicalization
  • mental disorder
  • social movements
  • Hannah Arendt


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