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  • 1.
    Skagius, Peter
    Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Assembling the child: Child psychiatric and psychological expertise in a Swedish morning paper, 1968-20082016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The majority of parents and children do not have any contact with child psychiatric institutions. Instead, they encounter psychological and psychiatric conceptualizations of child mental health through mass media, public broadcasting (radio, TV) and the Internet. Therefore, the circulation of child psychological and psychiatric expertise in the media constitutes the primary conduit through which experts and their knowledge can be ‘linked up’ with individuals and families and, through doing so, offering them descriptions and definitions of psychiatric diagnostic categories and mental conditions, along with different ways of reasoning about child mental health. In this paper I focus on how issues such as children's development and mental health have been discussed in the national newspaper Dagens Nyheter during the period 1968-2008. Alltogether, I discuss three forms of child psychological and psychiatric expertise identified in the material: a family therapeutic, a psychodynamic and a neuro expertise.

  • 2.
    Skagius, Peter
    Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Brains and psyches: Child psychological and psychiatric expertise in a Swedish newspaper, 1980–20082019In: History of the Human Sciences, ISSN 0952-6951, E-ISSN 1461-720X, no 3, p. 76-99Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Most children and families have not had direct contact with child psychological and psychiatric experts. Instead they encounter developmental theories, etiological explanations and depictions of childhood disorders through indirect channels such as newspapers. Drawing on actor–network theory, this article explores two child psychological and psychiatric modes of ordering children’s mental health discernible in Sweden’s largest morning newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, during the years 1980 to 2008: a psychodynamic mode and a neuro-centered mode. In the article I show how these two relatively contemporaneous modes greatly differed in how they enacted children’s mental health. The psychodynamic mode stressed the parents’ role in structuring and affecting the child’s unconscious and saw them as the primary cause of any mental illness. In contrast, the neuro-centered mode highlighted that mental issues were related to the child’s brain and proposed different solutions depending on whether the child’s brain functioned in a ‘normal’ or ‘atypical’ manner. Each mode moreover suggested differing contexts to their discussions, with the psychodynamic mode solely discussing the parental milieu while the neuro-centered mode mainly focused on how society affected children with ‘atypical’ brains. The two modes thus had significantly diverging implications for the reader on how to understand and manage children and their psychological well-being. I further argue in the article for the relevance of actor–network theory in historical studies of psychology and psychiatry.

  • 3.
    Skagius, Peter
    Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Den offentliga ohälsan: En historisk studie av barnpsykologi och -psykiatri i svensk media 1968-20082020Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The mental ill-health of Swedish children and young people has become a hotly debated issue in the Swedish public sphere, with reports and studies showing an increase in ill-health. At the same time, critical voices have argued that the perceived increase is, among other things, due to changing diagnostic criteria and health norms. Media has thereby been an important arena for explanations of and arguments about the mental ill-health of children and young people.

    In this dissertation, the media discussions on the mental ill-health of Swedish children and young people are examined from an historical perspective, with a focus on how “child psy” experts and professionals such as psychologists and therapists discussed, defined and explained children’s and young people’s mental ill-health. The material consists of issues published during the years 1968–2008 of Swedish daily newspapers as well as of the Swedish parenting magazine Vi Föräldrar [Us Parents]. The thesis's theoretical framework and analytical orientation draw primarily on Actor-network theory.

    The analyses show that the media discussions on the mental ill-health of children and young people encompassed several forms of “child psy” expertise. These included different definitions, explanations and notions regarding mental ill-health and ranged from an alarmist framing of children's and young people's mental health to an attitude where almost all perceived problems were interpreted as normal, healthy and transient aspects of children's development.

    Rather than seeing mental ill-health among children and young people as a coherent phenomenon that is stable across contexts, the dissertation illustrates the need to understand the media discussions, and the concerns about, the mental ill-health of children and young people in the light of specific, and historically changing, forms of “child psy” expertise. Especially as different forms of “child psy” expertise can have important consequences for how parents, children and young people themselves understand mental ill-health.

    List of papers
    1. Brains and psyches: Child psychological and psychiatric expertise in a Swedish newspaper, 1980–2008
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Brains and psyches: Child psychological and psychiatric expertise in a Swedish newspaper, 1980–2008
    2019 (English)In: History of the Human Sciences, ISSN 0952-6951, E-ISSN 1461-720X, no 3, p. 76-99Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    Most children and families have not had direct contact with child psychological and psychiatric experts. Instead they encounter developmental theories, etiological explanations and depictions of childhood disorders through indirect channels such as newspapers. Drawing on actor–network theory, this article explores two child psychological and psychiatric modes of ordering children’s mental health discernible in Sweden’s largest morning newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, during the years 1980 to 2008: a psychodynamic mode and a neuro-centered mode. In the article I show how these two relatively contemporaneous modes greatly differed in how they enacted children’s mental health. The psychodynamic mode stressed the parents’ role in structuring and affecting the child’s unconscious and saw them as the primary cause of any mental illness. In contrast, the neuro-centered mode highlighted that mental issues were related to the child’s brain and proposed different solutions depending on whether the child’s brain functioned in a ‘normal’ or ‘atypical’ manner. Each mode moreover suggested differing contexts to their discussions, with the psychodynamic mode solely discussing the parental milieu while the neuro-centered mode mainly focused on how society affected children with ‘atypical’ brains. The two modes thus had significantly diverging implications for the reader on how to understand and manage children and their psychological well-being. I further argue in the article for the relevance of actor–network theory in historical studies of psychology and psychiatry.

    Keywords
    childhood, actor–network theory, history of child psychology and psychiatry, media, Sweden
    National Category
    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary History
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-159357 (URN)10.1177/0952695118810284 (DOI)000478601400004 ()
    Funder
    Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2014-0925
    Note

    Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare [Forte 2014-0925]

    Available from: 2019-08-09 Created: 2019-08-09 Last updated: 2020-01-13
    2. “Don't worry”: Figurations of the child in a Swedish parenting advice column.
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>“Don't worry”: Figurations of the child in a Swedish parenting advice column.
    2019 (English)In: History of Psychology, ISSN 1093-4510, E-ISSN 1939-0610, ISSN 1939-0610Electronic,1093-4510PrintArticle in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    Materials such as popular books, magazines, and newspapers have historically been important for the circulation of psychologists’ and psychiatrists’ expertise in the public sphere. In this article, I analyze an advice column published in the Swedish parenting magazine Vi Föräldrar [Us Parents], featuring the child psychologist Malin Alfvén. Drawing on the concept of figurations (Castañeda, 2002), denoting the process of outlining and defining an entity, I show how the expert framed the child-related problems brought up in the submitted letters as transient and a normal part of children’s development. In fact, most problems were considered beneficial for both parents and the child. Instead of interpreting children’s behavior through a medical framework, Alfvén’s explanations drew on 3 naturalizing figurations of the child: as being one of several kinds of children; as going through phases and ages; and as being a unique individual. For instance, a child could be rowdy and temperamental because he was a willful kind of child, not because, as suggested by some parents, he suffered from a neuropsychiatric disorder. I conclude by contrasting these findings to the claims made by some scholars that “psy” experts have contributed to an increasing medicalization of childhood as well as to a framing of children’s development as overwhelmingly determined by parents’ care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

    Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
    Washington, D.C., USA: American Psychological Association, 2019
    Keywords
    *Anxiety, *Childhood Development, *Magazines, *Parents, *Parenting, Child Psychology, Experience Level, History of Psychology, Newspapers, Psychologists
    National Category
    Pediatrics
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-163095 (URN)10.1037/hop0000138 (DOI)
    Conference
    US
    Available from: 2020-01-13 Created: 2020-01-13 Last updated: 2020-01-13
  • 4.
    Skagius, Peter
    Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    “Don't worry”: Figurations of the child in a Swedish parenting advice column.2019In: History of Psychology, ISSN 1093-4510, E-ISSN 1939-0610, ISSN 1939-0610Electronic,1093-4510PrintArticle in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Materials such as popular books, magazines, and newspapers have historically been important for the circulation of psychologists’ and psychiatrists’ expertise in the public sphere. In this article, I analyze an advice column published in the Swedish parenting magazine Vi Föräldrar [Us Parents], featuring the child psychologist Malin Alfvén. Drawing on the concept of figurations (Castañeda, 2002), denoting the process of outlining and defining an entity, I show how the expert framed the child-related problems brought up in the submitted letters as transient and a normal part of children’s development. In fact, most problems were considered beneficial for both parents and the child. Instead of interpreting children’s behavior through a medical framework, Alfvén’s explanations drew on 3 naturalizing figurations of the child: as being one of several kinds of children; as going through phases and ages; and as being a unique individual. For instance, a child could be rowdy and temperamental because he was a willful kind of child, not because, as suggested by some parents, he suffered from a neuropsychiatric disorder. I conclude by contrasting these findings to the claims made by some scholars that “psy” experts have contributed to an increasing medicalization of childhood as well as to a framing of children’s development as overwhelmingly determined by parents’ care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

  • 5.
    Skagius, Peter
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Münger, Ann-Charlotte
    Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Sociology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Professional reinventions: Swedish psychologists, 1990-20102016In: History of Psychology, ISSN 1093-4510, E-ISSN 1939-0610, Vol. 19, no 4, p. 274-297Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Since the early 20th century, the Swedish psychology profession has undergone several changes in its essential tasks, epistemological foundations, and social roles. These changes occurred through an ongoing “tuning” with Swedish society, in which the profession strove to appear relevant to society’s concerns and problems as well as enroll others to share the profession’s goals and aims. Studying the history of the profession can thus shed light on the changing definitions and contours of the psychology profession itself as well as on the organization of the society in which it acts. This article examines the history of the Swedish psychology profession from 1990 to 2010, through an analysis of the discussions and debates taking place in the Swedish Psychological Association’s journal. The analytical framework used draws on work done within actor–network theory and science studies. We argue that the profession’s institutional connections, defining tasks, epistemological underpinnings, and social position have changed in major ways during these 2 decades. Overall, as a result of an increasingly felt insecurity, the profession has turned outward and tried to find new ways to legitimize itself to politicians, the media, patients, and customers through means such as a more economized vocabulary and novel forms of empirical research. These changes have led to a more socialized profession, now more closely tuned to other actors in Swedish society, leading to conflicts within the profession over whether this is an opportunity to better control their own destiny or if it will lead to a loss of autonomy.

  • 6.
    Skagius, Peter
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Zetterqvist Nelson, Karin
    Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Lindgren, Anne-Li
    Stockholms Universitet, Barn- och ungdomsvetenskapliga institutionen, Avdelningen för Förskollärarutbildning och Förskoleforskning.
    Psykisk ohälsa eller bara livet?: Ungas egna beskrivningar av psykisk ohälsa i en internetbaseradstödverksamhet organiserad av och för ungdomar2018In: Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift, ISSN 0037-833X, Vol. 95, no 5, p. 568-576Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [sv]

    Föreliggande artikel berör Tilia, en ideell internetbaserad verksamhetsom organiseras av ungdomar och unga vuxna med egen erfarenhet avpsykisk ohälsa. Tilia riktar sig till andra unga som kämpar med sitt psykiskamående och har som ambition att komplettera den formella vården. Dennaartikel fokuserar på hur ungdomars psykiska ohälsa beskrivs på Tilia.se isyfte att närmare studera den språkliga repertoar om psykisk ohälsa sompresenteras på hemsidan. Analysen visar hur de ungas beskrivningarav psykisk ohälsa präglas av ett fritt användande av psykologiskt ochpsykiatriskt expertspråk och en ”normalisering” av olika känslor, somkontrast till det vuxna (expert)samhällets normer och krav. Vidare betonasden stödsökandes egen agens och ungas behov av att bli lyssnade på.

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