Pain: A Political History by Keith WailooPain: A Political History by Keith Wailoo

Pain: A Political History

byKeith Wailoo

Paperback | July 30, 2015

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People in chronic pain have always sought relief—and have always been judged—but who decides whether someone is truly in pain? In this history of American political culture, Keith Wailoo examines how pain and compassionate relief define a line between society's liberal trends and conservative tendencies. Tracing the development of pain theories in politics, medicine, law, and society, and battles over the morality and economics of relief, Wailoo points to a tension at the heart of the conservative-liberal divide.

Beginning with the advent of a pain relief economy after World War II in response to concerns about recovering soldiers, Wailoo explores the 1960s rise of an expansive liberal pain standard, along with the emerging conviction that subjective pain was real, disabling, and compensable. These concepts were attacked during the Reagan era of the 1980s, when a conservative political backlash led to decreasing disability aid and the growing role of the courts as arbiters in the politicized struggle to define pain.

Wailoo identifies how new fronts in pain politics opened in the 1990s in states like Oregon and Michigan, where advocates for death with dignity insisted that end-of-life pain warranted full relief. In the 2006 arrest of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, Wailoo finds a cautionary tale about deregulation, which spawned an unmanageable market in pain relief products as well as gaps between the overmedicated and the undertreated. Today's debates over who is in pain, who feels another's pain, and what relief is deserved form new chapters in the ongoing story of liberal relief and conservative care.

Keith Wailoo is the Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs and Vice Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is coauthor of The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine: Ethnicity and Innovation in Tay-Sachs, Cystic Fibrosis, and Sickle Cell Disease and author of Dra...
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Title:Pain: A Political HistoryFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:296 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.72 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 0.72 inPublished:July 30, 2015Publisher:Johns Hopkins University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1421418401

ISBN - 13:9781421418407

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Editorial Reviews

Will surely bring to mind the aphorism of Santayana, that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. But it does so much more: If we want to understand the origins of terms such as 'welfare queen' and 'entitlements for the undeserving' and 'givers versus takers,' we need look no further than Pain: A Political History.