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Scripting Addiction:
The Politics of Therapeutic Talk and American Sobriety
E. Summerson Carr

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"There is much to like about this intriguing and subtly argued book. Its human interest and drama, as the story of Rhonda and Louise suggests, is not the least of it. I came away from the detailed scenes of interviews and board meetings impressed with Carr's intelligence and thoughtfulness as an ethnographer. Readers can get a vivid sense of both clients and staff. Best of all is how concrete this study is. . . . Carr's evidence and analysis are clear. She reveals a living language, whose flow she traces from intake interviews, to therapy sessions, to client case meetings, to board rooms."--Stephanie Muravchik, Society

"Scripting Addiction screams with many voices that there is no neutral language (Bakhtin, 1984). Therefore, it is a powerful call to better realize what is happening in and through language at sites all around us that carry huge potential to either serve humankind, or cause suffering. It is an important and well-articulated call."--Mark A. Leeman, Discourse Studies


"Scripting Addiction is an original and meticulous ethnographic account of a decidedly post-Freudian 'talking cure,' in a treatment program for drug addiction. One of the book's notable successes is its account of how clients acquire skills necessary for reading, analyzing, and strategically responding to the social-service transactions that are integral to their lives."--Allan Young, McGill University

"Summerson Carr explores the consequential nexus of language, personhood, therapy, welfare policy, and social-work practice with imagination and subtlety. Deeply textured and intellectually exhilarating, Scripting Addiction is a rich and revelatory account of a specific therapeutic site and an extraordinary model for attuned, reflective, and generative ethnography. This is certain to become a classic in the anthropology of complex institutions--and of the broader ideologies and social relations with which they are entangled."--Donald Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz

"Pathbreaking. The book incorporates a fine-grained ethnography of drug treatment and treatment philosophies, and will make a substantial contribution to our understanding of how language and identity function in this institutional setting. Carr displays a deft facility for articulating a number of important perspectives in social work, drug therapy, social theory, and linguistic theory. Scripting Addiction is a scholarly masterpiece."--Gregory M. Matoesian, author of Law and the Language of Identity

"A fascinating contribution to scholarship. Carr has very effectively, thoroughly, and skillfully used ethnography and sociolinguistics to empirically demonstrate the dark side of clinical language practices. Her careful linguistic approach methodically shows how therapeutic language can be used to constrain rather than open up possibilities."--Jerry Floersch, author of Meds, Money, and Manners: The Case Management of Severe Mental Illness

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File created: 4/21/2017

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