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.
Table of Contents
1. The Culture of Emotionalism 2. The Politics of Emotion 3. Targeting Privacy and Informal Relations 4. How Did We Get There? 5. The Diminished Self 6. The Self at Risk 7. Fragile Identity - Hooked on Self-Esteem 8. Conferring Recognition - The Quest for Identity 9. Therapeutic Claims Making and the Demand for a Diagnosis 10. Final Thoughts - Does It Matter?
Frank Furedi is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, Canterbury.
'Therapy is indeed the new opium of the people, as Frank Furedi makes clear in this fascinating, readable - and disturbing - book.' - Virginia Ironside, The Independent
'Can it really be such a bad thing that we are now more aware of the place of mental health in our make-up? Furedi leaves us in no doubt that the therapy culture has invaded our media, our workplace, our intimate relationships and our politics. It is an interesting polemic. We should be grateful for the balance this book inspires'
- Community Care 25/4/04