Depressive Love : A Social Pathology book cover
1st Edition

Depressive Love
A Social Pathology

ISBN 9780367369538
Published September 11, 2019 by Routledge
128 Pages

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Book Description

Love and depression are key elements in the cultural script of emotions or affectual life within contemporary Western society, and the two have become intertwined to such an extent that it is informative to talk about depressive love. Indeed, the most common source of depression is intimate relationships, in which one partner is not recognised by the other as being in need or worthy of loving care. This book addresses the question of how it is possible for opposite emotional experiences such as love and depression to appear simultaneously, empirically documenting the phenomenon of depressive love and its implications through studies of art, including music, literature and photography, and the experiences of everyday life, by way of interviews and the analysis of e-mail-, sms-, messenger-correspondence, and other new media spaces. Engaging with a range of sociological, psychoanalytic and philosophical theories of love, depression and emotion, including the work of Simmel, Alberoni, Barthes, Hochschild, Giddens, Luhmann, Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, Illouz, Bauman, Hegel, Honneth, Ehrenberg, Han, Lévinas, Sartre, Freud, Lacan, and Kristeva, to name but a few, the author examines the ways in which depressive love is expressed in modern society, asking whether it is a new phenomenon and confined to the West and if not, what is distinctive about depressive love and its associated (dys)functions in contemporary Western society. An empirically rich and theoretically broad study of depressive love as a sign of our times, this book will appeal to scholars and students of social theory and the sociology and philosophy of emotion and interpersonal relationships.

Table of Contents



Part I: Talk of Love in the Shadowland of Despair

Part II: The Leap of Love into the Depressive Sphere

Part III: A Distorted Love Ideal




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Emma Engdahl is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and the author of A Theory of the Emotional Self: From the Standpoint of a Neo-Meadian.


‘ … this book is current, refined, and interesting not only for scholars, but for everyone who experiences relationships lacking a mutual "self-recognition" and who shares the same dissatisfaction—sometimes, the discomfort—of the protagonists of the narrated stories: the contemporary violation in emotions between the extremes of pure objectivity and subjectivity.’ - Irene Psaroudakis, Symbolic Interaction