Concept Creep and the Necessity of Organisational Ambiguity

Context: Concept Creep: Psychology’s Expanding Concepts of Harm and Pathology

Michel Foucault’s perspective (in Madness and Civilisation, and elsewhere) seems to be useful here (the above-linked article really is fascinating and worth a read). The medicalisation of self, the construction and inflation of those taxonomies of knowledge and logical, legal frameworks around the self and subjectivity is precisely the constitutive construction of that self and its assumptive subjectivity. PTSD and psychological trauma remain empirical facts to be disentangled and negotiated through tactful intervention but the hyper-medicalisation of that knowledge and administrative reach into an individual’s experience foundationally inflates the expected contours and probable expressions of those pathologies.

Science has always been about knowledge and control in various ways and, through whichever theoretical, ideological or political framework you choose to interpret the facts, remains fundamentally concerned with just such an expression of control through (and as) knowledge. Constitutively vulnerable subjectivities are those usefully-incomplete, accessible, transcribable and measurable Objects with which medical science might endlessly and usefully extend its own systemic architecture. The construction and active cultivation of such open and observable, psychological subjectivities (i.e. persons) provides the validation and leverage that medical science requires to continue to self-propagate itself as an aggregated or consensus discipline. This is not a negative appraisal: the near-organic organisational and systemic continuity of most formal disciplines rests fundamentally on their aptitude of formal Object construction. Consider legal systems or other administrative hierarchies: the successful (and ongoing) construction of progressively higher-resolution definitions of diverse objects, entities, relationships provides the plausibility and opportunity for open-ended systemic self-definition, of continuity.

It is arguable that the interpretive and semantic turbulence generated by implicitly ambiguous specifications, by the ongoing conversations or arguments over interpretation of empirical facts and the relentless refinement of associated taxonomies is precisely that ballooning, interior logical space into and from which the sciences and other formal hierarchical structures derive self-validation and the enlightened self-interest of continuing cultural (and professional) tenure. It is (also) interesting to consider that this implies that there is useful benefit and work to be derived from ambiguous or incomplete specifications.

Question: how much work that people actually do is a result of organisational entropy borne of poor-definitions, failures of intelligence or internal systemic misunderstanding and miscommunication ?

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