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The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlementby Jean Twenge
Synopses & Reviews
Narcissismand#8212;an inflated view of the selfand#8212;is everywhere. Public figures say itand#8217;s what makes them stray from their wives. Parents teach it by dressing children in T-shirts that say "Princess." Teenagers and young adults hone it on Facebook, and celebrity newsmakers have elevated it to an art form. And itand#8217;s whatand#8217;s making people depressed, lonely, and buried under piles of debt. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Jean Twengeand#8217;s influential first book, andlt;Iandgt;Generation Meandlt;/Iandgt;, spurred a national debate with its depiction of the challenges twenty- and thirty-somethings face in todayand#8217;s worldand#8212;and the fallout these issues create for educators and employers. Now, Dr. Twenge turns her focus to the pernicious spread of narcissism in todayand#8217;s culture, which has repercussions for every age group and class. Dr. Twenge joins forces with W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D., a nationally recognized expert on narcissism, to explore this new plague in andlt;Iandgt;The Narcissism Epidemicandlt;/Iandgt;, their eye-opening exposition of the alarming rise of narcissism and its catastrophic effects at every level of society. Even the world economy has been damaged by risky, unrealistic overconfidence. Drawing on their own extensive research as well as decades of other expertsand#8217; studies, Drs. Twenge and Campbell show us how to identify narcissism, minimize the forces that sustain and transmit it, and treat it or manage it where we find it. Filled with arresting, alarming, and even amusing stories of vanity gone off the tracks (would you like to hire your own personal paparazzi?), andlt;Iandgt;The Narcissism Epidemic andlt;/Iandgt;is at once a riveting window into the consequences of narcissism, a prescription to combat the widespread problems it causes, and a probing analysis of the culture at large.
The author of the influential and controversial "Generation Me" and a recognized narcissism expert examine the spread of narcissism in current culture.
Social critics have long lamented Americas descent into a “culture of narcissism,” as Christopher Lasch so lastingly put it fifty years ago. From “first world problems” to political correctness, from the Oprahfication of emotional discourse to the development of Big Pharma products for every real and imagined pathology, therapeutic culture gets the blame. Ask not where the stereotype of feckless, overmedicated, half-paralyzed millennials comes from, for it comes from their parents therapists couches.
Rethinking Therapeutic Culture makes a powerful case that weve got it all wrong. Editors Timothy Aubry and Trysh Travis bring us a dazzling array of contributors and perspectives to challenge the prevailing view of therapeutic culture as a destructive force that encourages narcissism, insecurity, and social isolation. The collection encourages us to examine what legitimate needs therapeutic practices have served and what unexpected political and social functions they may have performed. Offering both an extended history and a series of critical interventions organized around keywords like pain, privacy, and narcissism, this volume offers a more nuanced, empirically grounded picture of therapeutic culture than the one popularized by critics. Rethinking Therapeutic Culture is a timely book that will change the way weve been taught to see the landscape of therapy and self-help.
About the Author
Jean M. Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, is the author of more than 100 scientific publications and two books based on her research, andlt;iandgt;Generation Me andlt;/iandgt;and andlt;iandgt;The Narcissism Epidemicandlt;/iandgt;, as well as andlt;iandgt;The Impatient Womanand#8217;s Guide to Getting Pregnantandlt;/iandgt;. Her research has been covered in andlt;iandgt;Timeandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Newsweekandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;The New York Timesandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;USA TODAYandlt;/iandgt;, and andlt;iandgt;The Washington Postandlt;/iandgt;, and she has been featured on the andlt;iandgt;Todayandlt;/iandgt; show, andlt;iandgt;Good Morning Americaandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Fox and Friendsandlt;/iandgt;, and National Public Radio. She lives in San Diego with her husband and daughters.andlt;Bandgt;W. Keith Campbellandlt;/Bandgt;, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Georgia, is the author of more than 65 scientific journal articles and book chapters and the book, andlt;iandgt;When You Love a Man Who Loves Himself: How to Deal with a One-way Relationship andlt;/iandgt;(Sourcebooks, 2005). He has publishedandnbsp;more than 30 journal articles and chapters on narcissism, more than any other academic researcher. He is also a contributing author of the study on the rise in narcissism covered by the Associated Press. His research has appeared in andlt;iandgt;USA Today, Newsweek, andlt;/iandgt;andandlt;iandgt; The Washington Post, andlt;/iandgt;and he has been featured onandlt;iandgt; andlt;/iandgt;Fox Newsand#8217; andlt;iandgt;The Big Storyandlt;/iandgt; and made numerous radio appearances. He holds a BA from the University of California at Berkeley, an MA from San Diego State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Athens, Georgia, with his wife and daughter.
Table of Contents
Tim Aubry and Trysh Travis, Introduction
What is therapeutic culture,” and why do we need to rethink” it?
1 Joseph M. Gabriel, Damage
Until the middle of the nineteenth century, Americans were inured to suffering. Maybe we have something to learn from them.
2 Kathryn Lofton, Gospel
If Christian ministers and secular therapists now sound strangely alike, its because they have been imitating each other for over a century.
3 Courtney Bender, Spirit
Spiritual gurus and critics of therapeutic culture both view the world as an inescapable cage. As a result, their visions of freedom both rely on some form of magic.
4 Gabriel Mendes, Race
An underground Harlem clinic could have radicalized the practice of therapy in the 1950s—if only more people had paid attention.
5 Rebecca Jo Plant, Motherhood
As they warned women about the perils of maternal overinvolvement, midcentury psychological experts inadvertently helped to pave the way for second-wave feminism.
6 Badia Ahad, Confessions
Cautionary tales about taboo sexual behaviors offered in a black confessional magazine gave readers from outside the white middle class access to therapeutic culture—and a sense of sexual selfhood.
7 Michael Staub, Radical
Although the radical therapists of the 1960s failed to make therapy into a revolutionary tool, they did succeed at transforming their own profession.
8 Elizabeth Lunbeck, Narcissism
The narcissism that worries social critics so much bears little resemblance to the one that interests psychoanalysts. Why is that?
9 Beryl Satter, The Left
How did the discharge” of negative emotions become a substitute for structural critique?
10 David Herzberg, Pills
Psychotropic drug users are political actors too.
11 Stevan Weine, Testimony
What happens—and who benefits—when trauma victims are encouraged to tell their stories?
12 Tanya Erzen, Heart
Christian heart-change” rehabilitation is challenging punishment in the American penal system, and its therapeutic dimensions confound critics on the right and the left.
13 Elizabeth Spelman, Privacy
In order to shield their actions from public scrutiny, corporations depend upon protections of privacy that individual citizens have come to disdain.
14 Suzanne Bost, Pain
Rather than trying to eliminate pain, some modern therapeutic practices invite us to experience the bodys contingency and permeability.
15 Michael Sayeau, Blogging
Blogging is a new form of democratic, crowd-sourced therapy. But it works the way therapy always has: by bringing individuals private thoughts to the attention of strangers.
16 Philip Cushman, Practice
A therapist works through—and with—the critique of therapeutic culture.
Jackson Lears, Afterword
One of the therapeutic cultures most persuasive critics considers the historical category anew.
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