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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars We feel your pain, but not your wage claim, 17 April 2002
U. Eastwood "Stephen" (Sheffield) - See all my reviews
As an example of where thing’s are headed under Blair, this is a ‘must read’. The problem is, the author is all too keen to take us there.
Andrew Samuels feels that the old rationalist categories of political life are inappropriate for our more complex, post-modern world, and that we need to ‘envision a citizenry wanting to engage with politics in a feeling-based way’ in order to ‘help people face up to the inevitability of disappointment’ (3). If it used to be thought that ‘the world is making people unwell’ (21), then it used also to be considered possible to change the world, to make it a better place for us to live in. Not any more. Now we need to change ourselves and adopt an altogether lower set of expectations via the concept of ‘good enoughness’. Even the idea that you might take control of your own destiny is regarded as suspect, part of the ‘political myth of the person’ (30).
What is most interesting about the book is it’s development of ideas that have already been flagged up by the like of Giddens, Beck, Bauman and others. When David Blunkett, for example, advocates ‘a more personalised public service infrastructure’ (Politics and Progress, 106), it is not always clear what this might entail. But in Politics on the Couch we get a better idea about how government might help us to live with disappointment, with suggestions for a ‘National Failure Enquiry’, a ‘National Diversity Commission’, a ‘National Emotional Audit’ and an ‘Emotional and Spiritual Justice Commission’. Expect less is the message here, because ‘there are limits to what can be achieved by economic redistribution’ (205). We feel your pain, but not your wage claim.
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Politics on the Couch: Citizenship and the Internal Life
Politics on the Couch: Citizenship and the Internal Life by Andrew Samuels (Paperback - 1 Jan 2001)
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