Thursday, April 28, 2011

The need for pure relations

Ulrich Beck argues in his book: Risk Society. Towards a New Modenity (1992) that the professionized development of caring for the sick in nineteenth century Europe has made and kept the sick ignorant in dealing with their own illness. Institutions they are a part of in everyday life, like the family, the occupational world, schools or the public sphere, are unprepared to deal with their ikkness. The professionalized administration of sickness may consider anything and everything as sick or can potentially make one sick - quite independently of how the person actually feels. The image of the active patient is brought forth as a consequence of this development. The active patient becomes the secondary doctor for the state of illness ascribed to one by professionalized helping institutions. Beck argues also that the unusally high rate of suicide in groups of people with various illnesses shows how poorly these expectations to the active patient are being tolerated by the afflicted people.

The rise of institutions as the 20 Incest Centres and 56 Crisis Centres in Norway, can in my opinion be seen as a need for what Anthony Giddens in his book Modernity and Self-Identity (1991) calls pure social relations in a society marked with indifference. He argues that the more relations between helper and the one in need of help becomes central, the more becomes in-depth understanding of the problem at hand in order to find oneself and be oneself. A pure social relation demands authenticity, meaning that those involved know themselves are are aable to reveal their knowledge of themselves to others. Another aspect with pure social relations is that the person in need of help is given the power to terminate the relations at will and at the same time the relation demand commitment from both parts. But giving the person in need of help the power to leave at will is a way of being authentic in practice by learning what it means to have control over ones life, and for many this is a new experience.

Many of those who seek help in these "new" institutions like the Incest Centres and Crisis Centres are in my opinion in need of pure relations in order to find themselves and be oneselves. To find oneself in an identity crisis and not really know who one is or where one stands, is a fundamental characteristic with the late-modern age. Charles Taylor argues in his book Sources of the Self (1989) that this is a most frightening experience because they lack:

A frame or horizon within which things can take a stable significance, within which some life possibilities can be seen as good or meaningful, others bad or trivial...The meaning of all these possibilities is unfixed, label or undetermined (1989:27).

No comments:

Post a Comment