Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 199–214

Foster Children and ADHD: Anger, Violence, and Institutional Power

  • Niranjan S. Karnik


This paper explores the ways in which foster children and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) intersect as social and medical categories. Through the method of interpretive biography based on the official case file, this paper shows how the experiences of violence and ADHD become linked in the child's life through the emotion of anger. In this way, it is possible to see how the power dynamics of the medical, educational and welfare systems lock the diagnosis with its embedded meanings into the child's life. It is also possible to see how counter forces like a caring foster family can challenge medical and welfare authorities.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niranjan S. Karnik
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Research and Policy Program, Hope for the ChildrenRantoul
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Medical Scholars ProgramUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignIllinois
  3. 3.College of MedicineUniversity of IllinoisUrbana

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