By Julie Passanante Elman
The teen has frequently seemed in tradition as an worried determine, the repository for American desires and worst nightmares, right away near to luck and coming near near failure. Spotlighting the “troubled youngster” as a domain of dad cultural, clinical, and governmental intervention, continual adolescence lines the teen as a determine by which extensive threats to the normative order were negotiated and contained.
Examining tv, renowned novels, technology journalism, new media, and public coverage, Julie Passanante Elman exhibits how the teen grew to become a cultural touchstone for transferring notions of able-bodiedness, heteronormativity, and neoliberalism within the overdue 20th century. via the overdue Seventies, media industries in addition to policymakers started constructing new problem-driven ‘edutainment’ prominently that includes narratives of disability—from the immunocompromised The Boy within the Plastic Bubble to ABC’s After tuition Specials and teenage sick-lit. even supposing this conjoining of incapacity and youth started as a storytelling conference, incapacity grew to become even more than a metaphor because the technique of medicalizing formative years intensified by means of the Nineteen Nineties, with parenting books containing neuro-scientific warnings in regards to the incomplete and unstable “teen brain.” project a cultural heritage of sweet sixteen that mixes incapacity, queer, feminist, and comparative media reports, Elman deals a provocative new account of the way American cultural manufacturers, policymakers, and doctors have mobilized discourses of incapacity to solid formative years as a treatable “condition.” by way of tracing the teen’s asymmetric passage from postwar insurgent to twenty first century sufferer, continual adolescence exhibits how children grew to become a lynchpin for a tradition of perpetual rehabilitation and neoliberal governmentality.
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Additional info for Chronic Youth: Disability, Sexuality, and U.S. Media Cultures of Rehabilitation
Featuring tragic and inspirational stories of disabled “victims” of muscular dystrophy, the show elicited donations by activating pity in viewers, a practice that angered disability rights activists, who annually protested the event until its cancellation in 2012. 14 Two culturally dominant figurations of disability, the telethon and the poster child, overwhelmingly spotlighted disabled children rather than adults, and this elision has bolstered the ongoing infantilization and neglect of disabled adults.
Nonwhite, queer, or disabled teenagers) by the 1990s. Chronic Youth tracks power and resistance within and through cultural production. Scholarship in youth subculture studies has posed important challenges to essentializing understandings of adolescence. 59 This narrative evacuates the historical and cultural specificity of youth dissidence; moreover, when teen “resistance” becomes little more than a transhistorical effect of the market or the prediscursive nature of adolescence, a particular vision of able-bodied middle-class white male adolescence problematically stands in as universal.
This chapter traces how news media and parenting books used the language of disability to translate neuroscientific studies of the adolescent brain into proof that teens were “brain damaged,” “disabled,” or alwaysalready mentally ill rather than just willfully misbehaving. 58 As this chapter demonstrates, medicalization and rehabilitation had intensified and expanded into a range of other cultural locations by the twentieth century’s close. These sites ranged from parenting advice literature about managing your teen’s “disabled” and incomplete brain, to American school shooting and teen “superpredator” epidemics, and even to federally endorsed counterterrorist surveillance technologies used to scan and detect teens “at risk” for depression or violent behavior.