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20.05 2011Line Lerche Mørck, associate professor, DPU From an ethically stuckplace to revolutionary victory Collective memory work with mothers of diagnosed.

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Presentation on theme: "20.05 2011Line Lerche Mørck, associate professor, DPU From an ethically stuckplace to revolutionary victory Collective memory work with mothers of diagnosed."— Presentation transcript:

1 Line Lerche Mørck, associate professor, DPU From an ethically stuckplace to revolutionary victory Collective memory work with mothers of diagnosed children Line Lerche Mørck (together with Heidi Birk Carlsen, Connie Cramer Jensen, Anja Grøndahl & Irene Nørgaard)

2 “What do diagnoses do to us?” The “us” includes the mothers, the fathers, the children, the rest of the families and the professionals who collaborate to support the development of the children “acquisitioned” by a behaviour-based diagnosis.

3 Danish-German critical psychology tradition Mainstream psychology serves the interests of capitalist/bourgeois society by individualising problems and instigating personal work on the self as a solution to psychological problems. Mainstream psychology thereby results in personal compliance rather than in active engagement with changing repressive societal conditions. (Holzkamp 1983 in Mørck & Huniche 2006)

4 A “psychology from the standpoint of the subject” (Holzkamp 1983) The Danish-German critical psychology is conceived as an alternative methodological and analytical strategy that builds on the study of first person perspectives, rather than “expert” third person perspectives. The aim is to enable personal and collective emancipatory practices through practice research. (Mørck & Huniche, 2006)

5 The collective biographies are written in the third person Using the third person can help participants explain themselves not as self-evident but as unknown persons. It opens up to a description in detail. In writing in the first person, a great deal is taken for granted, omitted or considered unimportant or embarrassing. Writing in the third person distances the writer from the memory (Haug 1997: p. 3-4). This was ethically helpful in dealing with the very personal and/or sensitive memories.

6 Emancipatory research - movements beyond stigmatisation One ethical issue was what to call the mothers and their children. One of the mothers hesitated to join the group to begin with because she was afraid of being categorised as “a mother of an ADHD child”. She had struggled hard to get out of that box and her son did not have the diagnosis anymore; they had succeeded in moving beyond it.

7 The worries about joining the memory work group “What does this do to me? The anxiety of getting put in a box – not by you, but more culturally”

8 The mother referred to her experience of being put in a box “I felt totally locked up in this box: “mother of a child acquisitioned by ADHD”. I could not breathe. I just had to get out of that box, and I felt that really physically – I had to get out of it – it was almost claustrophobic. And it is that fear I have now: Oh-oh, now I am going to end up there again”. (..) “Then you are suddenly the mother of a child with ADHD even though the child no longer thinks of himself as that and you do not think him like that”

9 Ethical dilemma It is very hard to avoid the diagnostic categorisation in the project, as the (sub)title of this paper reflects. How should we collectively and ethically deal with her anxiety? How can we produce revolutionary research of relevance for families who are or have been “acquisitioned” by behaviour-based diagnoses without putting (yet again) mothers and their children into boxes?

10 Steps beyond Stigmatisation It was very important to her to verbalise this issue, (we had an ethical round at the end of each meeting) All mothers agreed on wanting to shift the norms related to right and wrong. The verbalisation led to a collective discussion of the repertoires that rule the ADHD field. We discussed how a mother of a diagnosed child can easily feel different or “in the wrong” within this field.

11 Differences and changes in the mothers positions and standpoints over time We had experienced very different standpoints and positions during their lifetime: A critical “I don’t like diagnoses” attitude. Acknowledging that a diagnosis in some ‘stuck places’ “may be a help” and/or “a relief” and may often bring about some change. Test results as part of the diagnosis processes may also “bring hope”.

12 Ways to deconstruct and soften the tendencies of certain rights and wrongs Verbalising the very different experiences and positions was a way to deconstruct and soften the tendencies of certain rights and wrongs within the broad field of behaviour based diagnosis and also within this local practice community of mothers Very critical or against medication Appreciation of the medication Considering the possibility Been there, done that and having moved beyond medication.

13 Initial thesis of “The memory of when diagnosis did something to her” The limitations of diagnosis. How diagnoses are powerful negative objectifications related to experiences of violation and stigmatisation of the child and the family.

14 Contradictions and processes of distancing through irony As a course leader who coached parents “it was smart to be the mother of a child acquisitioned by ADHD”. It brought about the “you/we-know-what-it-all-is- about-atmosphere in the room”. But the distancing irony of the memory also indicated that it was too smart and that the mother had to get out of this “mother of a child with ADHD” box.

15 Self-constructions and actions of the various characters Analysis of the self-constructions and actions of the various characters in the memory: Especially the mother was very active and reflective: “A mother of action potency”. The biography was deconstructed from “limitations of diagnosis” to a “counter-narrative”, an “empowerment narrative”

16 The fealings of Revolutionary Victory at the third meeting The reconstruction process changed the initial thesis statement of authors’ meaning of limitations in diagnosis to a narrative of how to actually break with the powerful stigmatisations of diagnosis through active action, reflection, and expansive learning in collaboration with teachers. When we came to this point the mother cried out: “YES!” and held up her clenched fist in victory (M3, p. 14).

17 Litteratur – læs videre Mørck, L. L. (2006). Grænsefællesskaber. Læring og overskridelse af marginalisering. Roskilde Universitets Forlag Mørck, L. L. (2010). Læring og overskridelse af marginalisering blandt udsatte unge i folkeskolen. Unge pædagoger, Temanummer om specialpædagogik. Mørck, L. L. (2009). Kritisk psykologisk perspektiv på intervention. Samarbejde omkring problemer og handlemuligheder. In K. Bro, O. Løw & J. Svanholt (Eds.), Psykologiske perspektiver på intervention - i pædagogiske kontekster. København: Dansk Psykologisk Forlag. Mørck, L. L., Elholm, N. P., & Jensen, S. M. (2010). Inklusion og fællesskaber bygger på respekt. Liv i Skolen, 4(2010),


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