Assembling Therapeutics : Cultures, Politics and Materiality book cover
1st Edition

Assembling Therapeutics
Cultures, Politics and Materiality

ISBN 9780815377979
Published August 27, 2019 by Routledge
238 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

This volume examines the ways in which people engage with therapeutic practices, such as life coaching, mindfulness, complementary and alternative medicine, sex and relationship counselling, spiritual healing and self-tracking. It investigates how human and non-human actors, systems of thought and practice are assembled and interwoven in therapeutic engagements, and traces the situated, material and political dimensions of these engagements. By focusing on lived experiences through ethnographically informed case studies, the book elucidates the diverse forms, meanings and embodied effects of therapeutic engagements in different settings, as well as their potential for both oppressive and subversive social change. In this way, Assembling Therapeutics contributes to our understanding of multiple modes of healing, self-knowledge and power in contemporary societies.

Table of Contents

1. From Culture to Assemblages: An Introduction 

2. Assembling Mindful Bodies: Mindfulness as a Universal ‘Laboratory of Practice’ 

3. Affective Assemblages: Atmospheres and Therapeutic Knowledge Production in/through the Researcher-body 

4. Therapeutic and Therapeia within Orthodox Christianity 

5. Saving the Post-Soviet Soul: Religion as Therapy in the Narratives of Russian-speaking Migrant Women 

6. Coaching for the Nation: A New ‘Moral and Ethical Assemblage’ for Israel’s Last Republican Generation 

7. The Datafication of Therapeutic Life Management: Assembling the Self in Control Society 

8. The Lure of Self-disclosure: App-assisted Quantification of Mood as Therapeutic Companionship 

9. No Negative Vibes: Organisational Fun as a Practice of Social Control 

10. ‘Living on a Razor Blade’: Work and Alienation in the Narratives of Therapeutic Engagements 

11. Feminists Performing the Collective Trauma in Contemporary Russia 

12. Uncanny Experiences as Therapeutic Events 

Afterword: Life of Psy

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Suvi Salmenniemi is Professor of Sociology at the University of Turku, Finland.

Johanna Nurmi is a postdoctoral researcher in Sociology at the University of Turku, Finland.

Inna Perheentupa is currently finalising her doctoral dissertation in Sociology at the University of Turku, Finland.

Harley Bergroth is currently finalising his doctoral dissertation in Sociology at the University of Turku, Finland.