Late Modern Subjectivity and its Discontents: Anxiety, Depression and Alzheimer’s Disease, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Late Modern Subjectivity and its Discontents

Anxiety, Depression and Alzheimer’s Disease, 1st Edition

By Kieran Keohane, Anders Petersen, Bert van den Bergh


114 pages

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This book analyses three of the most prevalent illnesses of late modernity: anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s disease, in terms of their relation to cultural pathologies of the social body. Usually these conditions are interpreted clinically in terms of individualized symptoms and responded to discretely, as though for the most part unrelated to each other. However, these diseases also have a social and cultural profile that transcends their particular symptomologies and etiologies. Anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s are diseases related to disorders of the collective esprit de corps of contemporary society.

Multidisciplinary in approach, the book addresses questions of how these conditions are manifest at both the individual and collective levels in relation to hegemonic biomedical and psychologistic understandings. Rejecting such reductive diagnoses, the authors argue that anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other contemporary epidemics, are to be analysed in the light of individual and collective experiences of profound and radical changes in our civilization. A diagnosis of our times, Late Modern Subjectivity and its Discontents will appeal to a broad range of scholars with interests in health and illness, the sociology of medicine and contemporary life.


'This book is a much welcome contribution to the study of contemporary social pathologies. Based on analyses of late modern subjectivity, the authors present original and thought-provoking cultural readings of anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. The book will challenge every reader to think anew about these phenomena.' - Svend Brinkmann, University of Aalborg, Denmark

'This fantastic collections of essays takes seriously Freud's observation that malaise in civilization affects malaise of the individuals. The authors show how neoliberal society today contributes to people's psychological and physical suffering. In a groundbreaking way, they link the rise of anxiety, depression and Alzheimer's disease to social changes that we are experiencing in today's capitalism. For anyone wanting to understand why people are suffering so much in the developed world, these essays are essential read!' - Renata Salecl, Birkbeck, University of London, U.K

Table of Contents

Notes on contributors


1. Introduction to a Series

2. Modern Subjectivity / Postmodern Subjectivity (Dany-Robert Dufour)

3. Return to an Age of Anxiety – The Embedding of a Late Modern Social Pathology

4. Sadean Depression and the Work of Culture

5. Alzheimer’s Disease: a Social Pathology of Contemporary Civilization

6. A Research Prospective


About the Authors

Kieran Keohane, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the School of Sociology and Philosophy, University College Cork, Ireland.

Anders Petersen, Associate Professor of Sociology at Aalborg University, Denmark.

Bert van den Bergh, PhD candidate at the Faculty of Philosophy of Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

About the Series

The Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization

The Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization
Breaking decisively with the often ideological and moralistic approach of treating problems of health and well-being as discrete and individual problems to be addressed in isolation both from one another and their broader social contexts, this series pursues the investigation of the ways in which contemporary malaises, diseases, illnesses and psychosomatic syndromes are related to cultural pathologies of the social body and disorders of the collective ésprit de corps of contemporary society. It avoids reductive psychological and biomedical understandings of pathologies - including depression, stress-related illnesses, eating disorders, suicide and deliberate self-harm - to focus instead on the socio-cultural contexts in which they occur, examining the radical changes to social structures and institutions, and the deep crises in our civilization as a whole to which such conditions are connected. The Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization thus welcomes manuscripts from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives across the humanities and social sciences - sociology, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, politics, economics and cultural studies, as well as from the fields of medicine social care, therapeutic practice and the healing arts - that explore the fruitfulness locating health and well-being not simply in the individual body or soul, but within a trans-disciplinary imagination that takes into account the integral human person’s situatedness within collective social bodies, particular communities, entire societies, or even whole civilizations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General