Kitsch: From Education to Public Policy

By Catherine A. Lugg | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

Kitsch and Social Policy

Scientific research confirms that welfare benefits to single mothers directly contribute to the rise in illegitimate births.

—The Heritage Foundation 1

There is an assumption, sometimes implicit and sometimes explicit, within the mainstream social policy literature that “good” policy making and policy implementation should be a rational, scientific, and rather bloodless process, ideally conceived and led by political and professional elites. 2 This belief is rooted in the disciplines of social science, which guide much of contemporary policy analysis. Like their compatriots residing in the hallowed halls of science, social scientists take great pains to appear objective, clinical, and methodologically rigorous so that their research findings and subsequent policy recommendations are credible to both the general public and, more importantly, policy makers.

Such an assumption is problematic on a number of counts. First, the history of science, social science, and the subsequent policy formations, reveals how vulnerable “empirical fact” can be to capricious cultural and political contexts. 3 Policy analysis and formation, like other human ventures, are subject to human prejudices. Classification of individuals and groups as medically, socially, politically, or morally deviant (and exactly who is “redeemable” or who should be subjected to various “cures”) is greatly influenced by the perceptions of those who have the power to construct the categories. 4 As Edelman notes:

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Kitsch: From Education to Public Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Chapter 1 - Kitsch 3
  • Chapter 2 - Kitsch and the American Political Spectacle 13
  • Chapter 3 - Kitsch and Leadership 53
  • Chapter 4 - Kitsch and Social Policy 75
  • Chapter 5 - Resisting and Subverting Kitsch 103
  • Chapter 6 - The End? 117
  • Index 123
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