The Death of the Family

The Death of the Family

3.45 (33 ratings by Goodreads)
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 111 x 181mm | 99g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140212876
  • 9780140212877

Review Text

Cooper carries on in a vein most commonly identified with his sometime collaborator R. D. Laing (they coedited Reason and Violence, 1965). The reevaluation of madness and critique of socially defined health are familiar, but appear here in extreme, unqualified form: madness is not only a defensible response to the pressures of pathological institutions, but a value in itself and the basis of what Cooper conceives as a new political consciousness. The significance of the family is that it stands as a kind of depot between self and society. It is not only the model for a full-scale repressive system, but its restrictive presence in the minds of its members is essential to the system's workings. Thus radical psychoanalysis and radical politics can, at least theoretically, meet in an effective confrontation of the family; and "madness" - unreserved allegiance to one's own fully acknowledged capacities and desires, and paranoia re the curtailment of one's impulses - is the proposed tactic. Psychologically this means the ouster of the internalized family; socially it means personal withdrawals and disruptions, and centers of free communal experiment and guerrilla activity. Cooper's orientation is existential, his argument highly mobile and visionary. On the negative side, and it's a serious liability, he leaps freely between informed psychological generalizations and a largely intuitive, holistic conception of politics and can be startlingly simplistic in transit (as when he asserts that the psychic liberation of the First World and the political emergence of the Third are like phenomena). Unconventional language is a difficult but necessary aspect of his effort toward a view unmediated by conventions, and will not daunt the obvious audience. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

33 ratings
3.45 out of 5 stars
5 21% (7)
4 30% (10)
3 27% (9)
2 15% (5)
1 6% (2)
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