Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age

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Psychology Press, 2004 - Social Science - 245 pages
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Therapy Culture explores the powerful influence of therapeutic imperative in Anglo-American societies. In recent decades virtually every sphere of life has become subject to a new emotional culture. Professor Furedi suggests that the recent cultural turn toward the realm of the emotions coincides with a radical redefinition of personhood. Increasingly vulnerability is presented as the defining feature of people's psychology. Terms like people 'at risk', 'scarred for life' or 'emotional damage' evoke a unique sense of powerlessness. Furedi questions the widely accepted thesis that the therapeutic turn represents an enlightened shift towards emotions. He claims that therapeutic culture is primarily about imposing a new conformity through the management of people's emotions. Through framing the problem of everyday life through the prism of emotions, therapeutic culture incites people to feel powerless and ill. Drawing on developments in popular culture, political and social life, Furedi provides a path-breaking analysis of the therapeutic turn.
 

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Contents

The culture of emotionalism
24
The politics of emotion
44
Targeting privacy and informal relations
66
How did we get here?
84
The diminished self
106
The self at risk
127
Fragile identity hooked on selfesteem
143
Conferring recognition the quest for identity and the state
162
Therapeutic claimsmaking and the demand for a diagnosis
175
does it matter?
195
Notes
205
Bibliography
226
Index
237
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About the author (2004)

Frank Furedi is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, Canterbury.

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