The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse: Emotion, Social Movements, and the State

Paperback | April 21, 2011

byNancy Whittier

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The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse is the first study of activism against child sexual abuse, tracing its emergence in feminist anti-rape efforts, its development into mainstream self-help, and its entry into mass media and public policy. Nancy Whittier deftly charts the development of themovement's "therapeutic politics," demonstrating that activists viewed tactics for changing emotions and one's sense of self as necessary for widespread social change and combined them with efforts to change institutions and the state. Though activism originated with feminists, the movement grew andspread to include the goals of non-feminist survivors, opponents, therapists, law enforcement, and elected officials. In the process, the movement both succeeded beyond its wildest dreams and saw its agenda transformed in ways that were sometimes unrecognizable. A moving account, The Politics ofChild Sexual Abuse draws powerful lessons about the transformative potential of therapeutic politics, their connection to institutions, and the processes of incomplete social change that characterize American politics today.

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The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse is the first study of activism against child sexual abuse, tracing its emergence in feminist anti-rape efforts, its development into mainstream self-help, and its entry into mass media and public policy. Nancy Whittier deftly charts the development of themovement's "therapeutic politics," demonstratin...

Nancy Whittier is Professor of Sociology at Smith College. She is the author of Feminist Generations and co-editor of Feminist Frontiers and Social Movements: Identity, Culture, and the State.

other books by Nancy Whittier

Feminist Frontiers
Feminist Frontiers

Paperback|Sep 13 2011

$170.85 online$187.95list price
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:April 21, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199783314

ISBN - 13:9780199783311

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. From Rare Perversion to Patriarchal Crime: Feminist Challenges to Knowledge about Incest in the 1970s2. The Politics Of The "Therapeutic Turn": Self-Help and Internalized Oppression3. Social Services, Social Control, and Social Change: The State and Public Policy in the 1970s and 1980s4. Going Mainstream: Self-Help Activism During the 1980s5. Diffusion and Dilution: Mass Culture Discovers Child Sexual Abuse6. Turning Tides: Countermovement Organizing, "False Memory Syndrome," and the Struggle Over Scientific Knowledge7. The Politics of Visibility: Coming Out, Activist Art, and Emotional Change8. The Paradoxical Consequences of SuccessConclusionReferences

Editorial Reviews

"In a single book, Nancy Whittier overturns all conventional wisdom about why sexual abuse became such a contentious public issue. Battles over incest, repressed memory, and clergy abuse are not moral panics, she shows, but a collective therapeutic activism that challenges existing forms ofknowledge and control. The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse sets out a bold, new direction that is essential reading for all scholars of political culture and social movements." --Kathleen Blee, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh