One Nation Under Stress: The Trouble with Stress as an Idea

Front Cover
OUP USA, Feb 21, 2013 - Psychology - 245 pages
0 Reviews
The wear and tear of American life has been a topic of public concern ever since the mid-nineteenth century when middle-class men faced pressures to succeed in a newly industrialized society. But although stress is often associated with conditions over which people have little control--workplace policies unfavorable to family life, increasing economic inequality, war in the age of terrorism--the stress concept focuses most of our attention on the ways individuals react to stress. Several decades ago when the stress concept began to gain popularity, it would have been inconceivable that in only a matter of decades we'd be applying it to such divergent conditions as a soldier's nighttime terrors and a manager's tense work day. In this book, Becker argues that our national infatuation with neurobiology and our immersion in the therapeutic culture have created a middle-class moral imperative to manage the tensions of daily life by boosting our coping abilities, our self-esteem or our immune systems, turning our gaze inward and obscuring our view of the social and political conditions that underlie those tensions. The stress concept has come of age in a period of tectonic social and political shifts. Nonetheless, we persist in the all-American belief that we can meet these changes by re-engineering ourselves. Analyzing and interpreting both research and popular representations of stress in cultural terms, Becker follows the evolution of the social uses of the stress concept as it has been transformed into an important vehicle for defining, expressing and containing middle-class anxieties about upheavals in American society.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

One Nation Under Stress: The Trouble with Stress as an Idea

User Review  - Nadine Dalton Speidel - Book Verdict

Becker (social work, Bryn Mawr Coll.; Through the Looking Glass: Women and Borderline Personality Disorder; The Myth of Empowerment: Women and the Therapeutic Culture in America) discusses how our ... Read full review

Contents

The New Black Death?
1
The Wear and Tear of Modern Life
19
Chapter 3 Stress and the Biopolitics of American Society
49
Chapter 4 Mars and Venus Stress Out Naturally
76
Stress and the Working Mother
114
Chapter 6 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and the War for Mental Health
148
Vulnerability Reexamined
182
Notes
187
Index
237
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)


Dana Becker, PhD, is Associate Professor of Social Work at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA. Her previous books include Through the Looking Glass: Women and Borderline Personality Disorder and The Myth of Empowerment: Women and the Therapeutic Culture in America.

Bibliographic information