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The Careless Society: Community And Its Counterfeits 60058th Edition
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It is true (in the most obvious way) that the "professionalization of care" through the commodification of "people services" is occurring at an alarming pace and that this transformation (which, arguably is more evolutionary than revolutionary) leaves a social desert of destruction (arguably, the end of community) in its wake. And moreover, that the process by which this conversion takes place is: by turning what used to be called "normal self-correcting life conditions" (such as aging, crime, health, etc.) into self-defining and self-exploitable mandatory capitalist profit centers - which in the end are all designed to keep the capitalist beast sufficiently stoked and fed - meaning keeping the GNP forever growing.
However there is an important and I believe fallacious subtext to this rather left-leaning discussion (not that I am against left-leaning discussions). It makes the tacit assumption that communities themselves are benign, stable and ultimately static units, all only for the good.Read more ›
In the end I felt McKnight's trashing of the already well-trodden government provision of social services may not be altogether helpful to distressed communities. He sidesteps concerns of capital mobility, exploitation and the pernicious effects wrought by years of discrimination. Neoliberal ideologues may find themselves quite comfortable with McKnight's case for what's wrong with communities, since any discussion of when and where and how social programs can be instrumental is effectively cast aside. In McKnight's picture, social programs and the professional service providers are, in fact, the villains and culprits for most of what ails society.
One of the damaging fallacies perpetuated in this book is that service professionals are not able to be both professional and caring - the two are deemed mutually incompatible. McKnight's views resonate with employers' rhetoric about care work - a rhetoric conveniently invoked every time a healthcare worker tries to claim she does care about patients but is still entitled to a living wage or, perhaps, health insurance for herself.
McKnight foresees that communities will readily and ably take up the reins of providing for themselves once they're denied more institutionalized professional services. Implicit in this idea is the notion that communities had no problems at all before the social programs to solve them came into being.Read more ›
Using examples from his home town in Chicago, McKnight illustrates that when a community is faced with challenge, the best "solution" may not really be a "solution," but a habit. Rather than simply looking at communities as a group that needs to have their problems solved, it is more important to focus on the assets inherent in all of its individuals.
McKnight wishes to save communities from the obfuscating languages of medicine and professionalism. His book, "The Careless Society" is a triumph for the common good.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first read this book about 18 years ago, so the content is a bit dated now, especially in the area of health. Read morePublished 11 months ago by C. R. Hayward
I really like the premise of this book - working in the service sector I have taken a while to come to terms with being in many respects 'the enemy' when it comes to people getting... Read morePublished 20 months ago by T. Edmund
corners were a little bent but its expected since it's used. I'll be using this for a class that I'm currently in. It's small in size and its a paperback book.Published 24 months ago by RRBRUESS
I do not feel that I learned anything new. I am not quite sure if the book was bad or I am too knowlegdablePublished on December 5, 2013 by evelyn cruz
This book was eye opening and informative. But very one sided. It made the issues a little less believable.Good book!Published on October 12, 2013 by Beth
My favorite books on community are those written by Manitonquat, including Have You Lost Your Tribe? Read morePublished on May 27, 2013 by Dave
This book was written in 1995 and based soley in the context of the USA.
The whole premise of the book is about power has been taken away from 'communities' and into the... Read more
I love this book! John McKnight is a voice for the people who have been undervalued and his perspective of how the systems in place dehumanized folks is remarkable. Read morePublished on April 24, 2013 by Rock