9780393320893 / 0393320898

Scar Culture


Publisher:W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.



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About the book:

From the beginning of Toni Davidson's Scar Culture, the reader knows that something has gone wrong: the first person accounts which form the bulk of this book have been found "at the scene"'. The familiar frame of a "case" study, then, but who has done what to whom is the question driving this book--moving beyond the conventions of its psychiatric/criminal frame. In "Click" and "Fright" we are forced up against the more unsettling ways of living, or dying, through childhood--Scar Culture is part of the contemporary uncovering of the perversity of family life--as well as a few fragile metaphors of survival (if that is what they are). Click takes "head photos", recording the utter commotion of life with mother and father, Exit and Panic; Fright passes into a state of waiting for his brother to return, for his (dead) mother "to sing something, anything, into my ear". Curtis Sad's narrative starts to pull the book together, or further apart, in its presentation of the madness of a psychotherapy which becomes inseparable from the abuse it is supposed to cure. Within the tradition of a literary challenge to psychiatry, Scar Culture is taking its chance, too, from the perceived crisis of family and therapy in late 20th- century culture--it may become, in fact, a powerful contribution to that crisis.--Vicky Lebeau

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