Month: November 2011

Cultural Sociology meeting at TASA conference

The annual TASA conference is almost here, along with the annual meeting of the Cultural Sociology thematic group. Our meeting is a lunch time meeting at 12.30 – 1.30 on Thursday December 1, and will be in the Cummings Room in City Hall.

The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

1. Welcome to the Meeting.

2. Review of 2011 Year
(a) The Ron Jacobs Public Lecture held in June with TASA and Thesis 11.
(b) The provision of two postgraduate scholarships for this even to Ms Theresa Sauter and Ms Geraldine Donoghue.
(c) The establishment of the Blog to replace the newsletter and the loss of the Culturalsociology.org website – maybe show the blog. Encourage members to make use of the blog as a site that will potentially become a hub for cultural sociology in Australia in the future.
(d) The loss of Kate Maher (temporary) as a member of the convening team and the addition of Theresa Sauter after a competitive process – elected without competition.

3. Ideas for 2012 to plan for from the floor.
(a) Last year – it was proposed that we consider an international conference/workshop with Griffith’s Cultural Sociology school (Andy Bennett). Is that still being considered?
(b) Ideas for an edited collection in Australian Cultural Sociology?
(c) Ideas for TASA TG Thematic Group funding in 2012? Workshop? Mini conference?
(d) Any other ideas from the floor.

4. Any other business from the floor.

5. Close Meeting.

Last year we had a fantastic turn out, and we hope to see many of you there again this time around.

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Book Release: The Rise of the Therapeutic Society: Psychological Knowledge & the Contradictions of Cultural Change by Katie Wright

The Rise of the Therapeutic Society: Psychological Knowledge & the Contradictions of Cultural Change

Katie Wright

New Academia, 2011

This book is an examination of the contemporary fascination with psychological life and the historical developments that fostered it. Taking Australia as the focal point, Katie Wright traces the ascendancy of therapeutic culture, from nineteenth century concerns about nervousness, to the growth of psychology, the diffusion of an analytic attitude, and the spread of therapy and counseling. Wright’s analysis, which draws on social theory, cultural history, and interviews with therapists and people in therapy, calls into question the pessimism that pervades many accounts of the therapeutic turn and provides an alternative assessment of its ramifications for social, political, and personal life in the globalized West.

“Wright’s work provides an all important antidote to a long series of off-base polemics that misunderstand the role of psychotherapy in contemporary society. Wright’s work provides a sharp and welcome contrast. She finds the language of therapy at the heart of the new social movements.” —Jeffrey C. Alexander, Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology, Yale University.

“The strength of Wright’s work lies in its emphasis on the complex, contradictory ways in which various aspects of our global worlds enter into the inner, emotional texture of identity as well as the processes through which the unconscious imagination constitutes fabrications of the social-historical world.” —Anthony Elliott, Chair of Sociology, Flinders University, Australia.

“This work makes an important contribution to cultural and historical sociology. Wright argues convincingly for a reappraisal of therapeutic culture through a compelling critique of existing theory and by drawing on alternative traditions to those that have dominated scholarship in this field. The case studies she presents are intrinsically interesting and theoretically important, and her innovative perspective on the therapeutic society will make a valuable and significant contribution to the field.” —Zlatko Skrbis, Dean, UQ Graduate School, The University of Queensland, Australia.

Katie Wright is an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne.