Weariness of the Self Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age

ISBN-10: 0773536256
ISBN-13: 9780773536258
Edition: 2010
Authors: Alain Ehrenberg
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Description: Depression, once a subfield of neurosis, has become the most diagnosed mental disorder in the world. Why and how has depression become such a topical illness and what does it tell us about changing ideas of the individual and society? Alain  More...

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Book details

List price: $59.95
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Publication date: 2/1/2010
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.25" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.496
Language: English

Depression, once a subfield of neurosis, has become the most diagnosed mental disorder in the world. Why and how has depression become such a topical illness and what does it tell us about changing ideas of the individual and society? Alain Ehrenberg investigates the history of depression and depressive symptoms across twentieth-century psychiatry, showing that identifying depression is far more difficult than a simple diagnostic distinction between normal and pathological sadness - the one constant in the history of depression is its changing definition. Drawing on the accumulated knowledge of a lifetime devoted to the study of the individual in modern democratic society, Ehrenberg shows that the phenomenon of modern depression is not a construction of the pharmaceutical industry but a pathology arising from inadequacy in a social context where success is attributed to, and expected of, the autonomous individual. In so doing, he provides both a novel and convincing description of the illness that clarifies the intertwining relationship between its diagnostic history and changes in social norms and values. The first book to offer both a global sociological view of contemporary depression and a detailed description of psychiatric reasoning and its transformation - from the invention of electroshock therapy to mass consumption of Prozac - The Weariness of the Self offers a compelling exploration of depression as social fact.

Acknowledgments
Foreword
Preface
Introduction: The Sovereignty of the Self or the Return of Nervousness
A Sick Self
The Birth of the Psychic Self
Electroconvulsive Therapy: Technique, Mood, and Depression
The Socialization of an Indefinable Pathology
The Twilight of Neurosis
The Psychological Front: Guilt without an Instruction Manual
The Medical Front: New Avenues for the Depressive Mood
The Inadequate Individual
The Depressive Breakdown
The Uncertain Subject of Depression, or End-of-the-Century Individuality
Conclusion: The Weight of the Possible
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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