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Reconsidering a Therapeutic Role for the State: Anti-Modernist Governance and the Reunification of the Self

Frank E. Scott
Administrative Theory & Praxis
Vol. 23, No. 2 (Jun., 2001), pp. 231-242
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25611506
Page Count: 12
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Reconsidering a Therapeutic Role for the State: Anti-Modernist Governance and the Reunification of the Self
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Abstract

Conservative commentators have decried our society's move away from traditional moral standards in favor of a preoccupation with individual feelings, and with therapy as the means of unfettering those feelings from external moral constraints. This paper examines the corresponding notion of a "therapeutic state," one that grounds its legitimacy in its ability to influence the feelings of citizens. It suggests that the problems apparently associated with therapeutic governance follow in large part from the inadequacy of modernist vocabulary in describing the concern for human emotion expressed in certain anti-modernist approaches to public service. This paper seeks to redescribe the notion of therapeutic governance in a way more consistent with those approaches.

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