‘The Great Refusal’: The Personal and the Political

  • Geoffrey Pearson


Deviance and politics come together in misfit sociology and anti-psychiatry. In an attempt to clarify the nature of the imagination of these new approaches to deviance there are a number of objectives in this chapter. First, I will briefly discuss some of the utopian and personal politics of the ‘New Left’ in the 1960s and its characterisation of modern society as one-dimensional doom. This is the atmosphere in which the misfit paradigm matured, and I will trace the correspondence between this view of society and its politics and the tenor of the misfit sociologies and anti-psychiatry. In the one-dimensional society personal protest was depicted as one of the last remnants of human and political hope: deviant acts become a fulcrum on which to move the earth. Finally, from this full-bodied imaginative rendering of the misfit social thought I will look at how the relationship between the ‘personal’ and the ‘political’ which it throws into relief is handled, particularly by the new political criminology, which is highly critical of the misfit paradigm.


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Copyright information

© Geoffrey Pearson 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Pearson
    • 1
  1. 1.University CollegeCardiffUK

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