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The Politics of Child Sexual AbuseEmotions, Social Movements, and the State$
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Nancy Whittier

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195325102

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195325102.001.0001

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Social Services, Social Control, and Social Change

Social Services, Social Control, and Social Change

The State and Public Policy in the 1970s and 1980s

Chapter:
(p.70) 3 Social Services, Social Control, and Social Change
Source:
The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse
Author(s):

Nancy Whittier (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195325102.003.0004

This chapter focuses on the state and public policy from the 1970s through the early 1990s, showing that state apparatus dealing with child sexual abuse was a location of both opportunity and constraint for activists. The chapter analyzes the conditions under which activists engaged with the state, including the growth of child protective services and professional treatment organizations. Tracing legislation and funding, the chapter shows how federal funding for addressing child sexual abuse sometimes supported grassroots and activist organizations, including activist abuse prevention groups, and was an important force in the movement's increasing entry into the mainstream. At the same time, selection processes favored medical and criminal approaches over those of the earlier activists, even while they often mandated community involvement in funded initiatives. The chapter shows the shifting priorities and funding levels over time and links them to larger political shifts and emerging coalitions among activists and professionals from different political perspectives. The chapter also discusses theories of the therapeutic state and argues that the case of child sexual abuse shows that activists resisted the therapeutic state even as they engaged with it.

Keywords:   federal government, federal funding, activist organizations, therapeutic state, child protective services

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