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The Politics of Denial

Michael A. Milburn, Sheree D. Conrad

20 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 026213330X / ISBN 13: 9780262133302
Published by MIT Press, 1996
Used Condition: Fair
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Politics of Denial

Publisher: MIT Press

Publication Date: 1996

Book Condition:Fair

Edition: 1 Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

What is the driving force behind the undifferentiated rage of white males? Emotion appears to be playing an increasingly important role in politics, as evidenced by the vociferous opposition to welfare, abortion and immigrants, as well as by the rise of the radical Religious Right, anti-environmentalism and the general neoconservative slant of American public opinion. "The Politics of Denial" presents an explanation of these phenomena, providing empirical evidence for the role of rigid, harsh childrearing practices in the creation of punitive, authoritarian adult political attitudes. The authors, social pscyhologists, show how both the political and the public policy processes in the United States are distorted by the unresolved negative emotions (such as fear, anger and helplessness) that remain from punitive parenting, and by the politicians and conservative religious leaders who exploit those emotions. Among the many public figures discussed are Patrick Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan and Billy Graham. Milburn and Conrad define the concept of denial, describing its origins, observing its pervasiveness in American life, and detailing its negative effects on mental and physical health and on thinking itself. They then present the results of their broad-based research and explain how their model accounts for the rise of the Religious Right, its political attidudes and some of the extreme acts of violence against gays and abortion providers. The chapters that follow analyze the effects of denial on public opinion about issues such as punishment in schools, support for prisons, and fear of immigration. They discuss how political leaders exploit an angry electorate. They explore the legacy of slavery on blacks and the denial of its effects by whites; extreme denial in acts of governmental violence and genocide; and the role of denial in the destruction of the environment. These are complex issues for which there are no simple solutions; nevertheless, the authors propose in the concluding chapter some measures to alleviate the negative effects of denial on politics and public policy.

From the Back Cover:

What is the driving force behind the rage of America's white males? Emotion appears to be playing a growing role in politics, as evidenced by vociferous opposition to welfare, abortion, and immigrants, as well as by the rise of the radical Religious Right, antienvironmentalism, and the increasingly neoconservative slant of American public opinion. The Politics of Denial presents a compelling explanation of these phenomena, providing solid empirical evidence for the role of rigid, harsh child-rearing practices in the creation of punitive, authoritarian adult political attitudes. The authors, social psychologists, show how both the political and the public policy processes in the United States are distorted by the unresolved negative emotions (such as fear, anger, and helplessness) that remain from punitive parenting and by the politicians and conservative religious leaders who exploit those emotions. Among the many public figures discussed are Patrick Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, and Billy Graham.

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