Cloth $115.00 ISBN: 9780226233888 Published March 2015
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226233918 Published March 2015
An e-book edition will be published.

Cruel Attachments

The Ritual Rehab of Child Molesters in Germany

John Borneman

John Borneman

280 pages | 10 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2015
Cloth $115.00 ISBN: 9780226233888 Published March 2015
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226233918 Published March 2015
E-book $30.00 ISBN: 9780226234076 Will Publish March 2015
There is no more seemingly incorrigible criminal type than the child sex offender. Said to suffer from a deeply rooted paraphilia, he is often considered as outside the moral limits of the human, profoundly resistant to change. Despite these assessments, in much of the West an increasing focus on rehabilitation through therapy provides hope that psychological transformation is possible. Examining the experiences of child sex offenders undergoing therapy in Germany—where such treatments are both a legal right and duty—John Borneman, in Cruel Attachments, offers a fine-grained account of rehabilitation for this reviled criminal type.
Carefully exploring different cases of the attempt to rehabilitate child sex offenders, Borneman details a secular ritual process aimed not only at preventing future acts of molestation but also at fundamentally transforming the offender, who is ultimately charged with creating an almost entirely new self. Acknowledging the powerful repulsion felt by a public that is often extremely skeptical about the success of rehabilitation, he challenges readers to confront the contemporary contexts and conundrums that lie at the heart of regulating intimacy between children and adults.
Dagmar Herzog, Graduate Center, City University of New York
“Cruel Attachments is wholly absorbing, in the sense that it is un-put-down-able, but also in the sense that it provides numerous occasions for what can feel like utterly contaminating, destabilizing emotional identifications: with victims, family members, therapists, prison guards, the anthropologist himself—and, however unnervingly, also perpetrators. It is no small feat to bring readers inside the emotional worlds of all these players. To have done so, and with such subtlety and nuance, is remarkable and unprecedented.”
C. Jason Throop, University of California, Los Angeles
“An unflinching and unsettling look at the limits of empathy, Borneman’s important ethnography carefully traces the complex pathways of desire, attachment, harm, violation, and care made visible in the context of rehabilitation.”


One / The Phenomenon of Child Molestation
Two / Incest, the Child, and the Despotic Father
Three / Rehabilitation of Pedophiles
Four / Knowledgeability and the Materiality of Child Sex Abuse
Five / Seduction and Empathy
Six / New Germans
Seven / Loose End


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