A Nation of Meddlers

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Westview Press, 1999 - Psychology - 274 pages
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There was a time when the phrase “It’s none of your business” meant something. Not anymore. A boorish and persistent army of meddlers, equipped with righteous indignation and a formidable array of theories and technologies, has made almost everyone’s business its own. Meddling in the lives of others is now the republic’s most visible obsession. From national crusades against bad habits such as drinking, smoking, and gambling to the efforts of a group in Woodbury, Minnesota, to create a fragrance-free work environment, Americans are meddling into each others lives as never before. Often masquerading as social concern or community involvement, the contemporary meddlers intervene in the name of most everything: health, safety, the commonweal, God, and “for the sake of the children.”Working within the symbolic interactionist tradition of cultural analysis and criticism, Charles Edgley and Dennis Brissett analyze this emergent phenomenon with insightful and provocative descriptions about how we came to be this way, why meddling is so appealing, and how meddling is packaged and marketed. Their conclusion offers wise and sometimes witty cautions about the proper relationship between the individual and society.

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Contents

The Roots of Meddling
21
The Appeal and Acceptance of Meddling
59
The Ideologies of Meddling
97
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About the author (1999)

Charles Edgley is professor of sociology at Oklahoma State University. Dennis Brissett (deceased) was professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. Charles Edgley is professor of sociology at Oklahoma State University. Dennis Brissett (deceased) was professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Minnesota at Duluth.

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