This interdisciplinary book explores both the connections and the tensions between sociological, psychological, and biological theories of exhaustion. It examines how the prevalence of exhaustion - both as an individual experience and as a broader socio-cultural phenomenon - is manifest in the epidemic rise of burnout, depression, and chronic fatigue. It provides innovative analyses of the complex interplay between the processes involved in the production of mental health diagnoses, socio-cultural transformations, and subjective illness experiences. Using many of the existing ideologically charged exhaustion theories as case studies, the authors investigate how individual discomfort and wider social dynamics are interrelated. Covering a broad range of topics, this book will appeal to those working in the fields of psychology, sociology, medicine, psychiatry, literature, and history.
Sighard Neckel is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He has published almost 180 articles and several academic volumes which cover a wide range of sociological topics in the fields of cultural sociology, social inequality, economic sociology, sociology of emotions, and social theory.
Anna Katharina Schaffner is Reader in Comparative Literature and Medical Humanities at the University of Kent, UK. She has published on the histories of exhaustion, sexology and psychoanalysis, Dada, the film director David Lynch, and various modern writers.
Greta Wagner is Research Associate at the Institute of Sociology at Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She has published on strategies of self-optimisation, especially the self-medication with cognitive enhancing drugs, and on burnout.
Introduction; Sighard Neckel, Anna Katharina Schaffner and Greta Wagner.- Part I. Cultural-Historical Perspectives.- Chapter 1. Pre-Modern Exhaustion: On Melancholia and Acedia; Anna Katharina Schaffner.- Chapter 2. Neurasthenia and Managerial Disease in Germany and America: Transnational Ties and National Characteristics in the Field of Exhaustion 1880-1960; Patrick Kury.- Part II. Exhaustion syndromes.- Chapter 3. Exhaustion Syndromes: Concepts and Definitions; Johanna M. Doerr and Urs M. Natter.- Chapter 4. Burnout: A Short Socio-Cultural History; Wilmar Schaufeli.- Chapter 5. Burnout: From Work-Related Stress to a Cover-Up Diagnosis; Linda V. Heinemann and Torsten.- Part III. Exhaustion and Self-Realization.- Chapter 6. What We Talk About When We Talk About Mental Health: Toward anAnthropology of Adversity in Individualistic Society; Alain Ehrenberg.- Chapter 7. Self-Realization through Work and its Failure; Elin Thunman and Marcus Persson.- Chapter 8. Exhaustion and Euphoria: Self-Medication with Amphetamines; Greta Wagner.- Part IV. Exhaustion discourses.- Chapter 9. Rechargeable Man in a Hamster Wheel World: Contours of a Trendsetting Illness; Ulrich Bröckling.- Chapter 10. Literary Exhaustion; Michael Greaney.- Part V. Exhaustion and the Social.- Chapter 11. Social Agony and Agonizing Social Constructions; Iain Wilkinson.- Chapter 12. Exhaustion as a Sign of the Present; Sighard Neckel and Greta Wagner.- Conclusion; Sighard Neckel, Anna Katharina Schaffner and Greta Wagner.