Therapeutic State Justifying Government at Century's End

ISBN-10: 081475791X

ISBN-13: 9780814757918

Edition: 1998

Authors: James L. Nolan

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"...Nolan argues that America's therapeutic culture has recently moved from the cultural realm of "symbols and codes" to penetrate the institutions of the modern American state. By delineating sharply between the culture of the therapeutic and therapeutic poicymaking, Nolan's probing work provides an important new methodological frame with which to study the therapeutic" American Studies International The United States has always been profoundly conflicted about the role and utility of its government. Simmering just beneath the surface of heated public discussions over the appropriate scope and size of government are foundational questions about the very purpose of the state, and the basis of its authority. America's changing and diversifying cultural climate makes common agreement about the government's raison d'?tre all the more difficult. In The Therapeutic State, James Nolan shows us how these unresolved dilemmas have coalesced at century's end. Today the American state, faced with a steady decline in public confidence, has embraced a therapeutic code of moral understanding to legitimize its very existence. By ranging widely across education, criminal justice, welfare, political rhetoric, and civil law, Nolan convincingly illustrates how the state increasingly turns to the therapeutic ethos as a justification for its programs and policies, a development that will profoundly influence the relationship between government and citizenry. In a tone refreshingly free of polemic, Nolan charts the dialectic relationship between culture and politics and, against the backdrop of striking historical contrasts, gives example after example of the emergence of therapeutic sensibilities in the processes of the American state.
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Book details

List price: $27.00
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 1/1/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 410
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.232
Language: English

List of Tables
The Therapeutic Culture
The Emancipated Self
The Emotivist Ethic
A New Priestly Class
The Pathologization of Human Behavior
The Therapeutic Ethos
Legitimation of the State
Theoretical Considerations
Older Sources of Legitimation
State Expansion
Public Disenchantment
The Therapeutic Alternative
Civil Case Law
Personal Injury Law
The Doctrinal History of Emotional Damage Cases
Recovery of Emotional Damages in the New Legal Climate
Psychologists as Expert Witnesses
Litigation Reform: Therapeutic and Utilitarian Defenses
Criminal Justice
Drugs and Crime
The Historical Antecedents to Therapeutic Justice
Courtroom Therapy
Prison Therapy
Public Education
The Colonial Period
Universal Free Education
Compulsory Education
The Progressive Era
The Cosmopolitan Era
Therapeutic Education
School Counselors
In a State of Esteem
Welfare Policy
Congress and the Well-Being of Children
Child Labor Laws and the Children's Bureau (1906-1912)
The Sheppard-Towner Act (1921)
Social Security and Emergency Wartime Aid to Children (1939-1945)
Head Start and Operation Good Start (1965-1970)
Head Start and Child Abuse Bills (1985-1990)
Welfare Reform: Rejection or Extension of Therapeutic Welfare?
Excursus: The Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill Hearings
Political Rhetoric
The Therapeutic President
Political Oratory
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
The Kennedy-Nixon Debates
The Reagan-Mondale Debates
The Clinton-Bush-Perot Debates
The Talk Show Debate
The Therapeutic Candidate
The Triumph of Therapeutic Discourse
The Therapeutic State
Therapeutic Utilitarianism
A Postmodern State?
An Assessment of the Continuing Dialogue
Therapeutic Coercion
Legitimation Reconsidered
The Problem of Consent
The Paradox of Unintended Consequences
Selected References
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