History of Depression in Contemporary Society: Subjectivity and Somatic Identity in the Domain of Modern Psychiatry

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Krittapak Ngamvaseenont


The proliferation of depression in the last three decades makes it one of the crucial phenomena in contemporary society. People became aware of this extreme emotional distress. We learn how to deal with it and how to help others to cope with this emotional difficulty. The rise of depression does not just provide individuals with knowledge about this affective disorder, but it also shapes the way in which individuals think, understand, calculate, and act upon themselves and others. Central to this phenomenon is the fact that we all agree that depression is our somatic problem. The origin of depression lies in a somatic site, and it requires individuals to learn a diverse set of practices to cope or live with it. This article investigates the link between the rise of depression and the emergence of the new somatic identity in our contemporary society. By employing genealogical analysis, it will trace the intersections between various vectors that render depression a somatic problem. The analysis involves the inquiry into a transformation of depression as a disorder, a rise of psychopharmacology, a rupture in the field of psychiatry, and an emergence of a new style of reasoning in the domain of neuroscience. The intersection between those vectors will, in turn, give rise to the new form of modern subjectivity.

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Ngamvaseenont, K. (2021). History of Depression in Contemporary Society: Subjectivity and Somatic Identity in the Domain of Modern Psychiatry. Chiang Mai University Journal of Humanities, 22(2), 253–275. Retrieved from https://so03.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/JHUMANS/article/view/251557
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