Depression and 'crises of meaninglessness' in the political-economic theology of the money-God

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Freitas, Lauane B. N.
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University College Cork
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The thesis starts with a historical analysis of the development of depression as a concept. Through this inquiry, the controversies behind the apparent consensus about depression’s etiology and treatment are illuminated, suggesting that the understanding of the climbing rates of depression in contemporary Western civilization is still up for grabs. That’s what the thesis sets out to investigate. In order to accomplish this aim, the study builds upon the classical accounts of Georg Simmel, Émile Durkheim and the more contemporary ideas of Dany-Robert Dufour, in dialogue with an array of supplementary theoretical sources. Navigating through this ‘sea’ of extraordinary and different theories, a new avenue of reflections arises, contributing for the sophistication of the questions made about the phenomenon of depression’s rates. The fundamental argument emerging from this theoretical undertaking is that ‘crises of meaninglessness’ that pervade the collective body of Western contemporary societies have, as one of its consequences, the expansion of depression rates. Meaninglessness in contemporary times is the primary object of investigation of the thesis. The concept, in the context of this study, is not understood as merely an effect of the historical decline of shared social norms due to processes of individualization. Rather, it is claimed, it originates from and is reinforced by the ‘political-economic theology of neo-liberalism’ which becomes virtually generalized in the West, erecting money as a God. The study concludes that by undermining culturally established values, ideals, institutions and principles that may block the dissemination of commodities this new transcendence has been challenging the task of signifying life, potentializing – among other subjective difficulties – the diffusion of depression.
Depression , Meaning , Contemporary civilization
Freitas, L. B. N. 2015. Depression and 'crises of meaninglessness' in the political-economic theology of the money-God. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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