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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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(p.3) Introduction
The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse

Nancy Whittier (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The introduction gives an overview of the development of activism against child sexual abuse from the 1970s to the 2000s and traces the changes in cultural and political responses to child sexual abuse during that period. It shows the emergence of the movement in feminist activism and its growth outside feminism, arguing that it represents unexpected outcomes of the women's movement. It argues that activism against child sexual abuse shares qualities with, and sheds light on, the rise of self‐help and politics focused on emotion and the self as well as how social movements engage with the therapeutic state. The introduction develops the concept of selection processes, by which some movement goals and frames enter mainstream culture or public policy while others remain outside. It argues that the politics of child sexual abuse are better explained in terms of social movements than as a social problem or a moral panic. Finally, it discusses the methods of the study and gives background information about child sexual abuse.

Keywords:   therapeutic politics, social movements, feminism, child sexual abuse, public policy, cultural change, emotion, identity, selection processes, moral panic

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