The third in our series of talks on contemporary capitalism will be given by Susan Gill this Thursday, November 8, 7pm @ Dubzland Audio and Visual Gallery –
Contemporary Capitalism and Mental Health
In this financial climate it’s not hard to imagine the psychological impact that job loss, lack of opportunities and an increase in government taxes has on the mental health of the nation. Yet the sociologist Emile Durkheim noted that rates of depression and suicide multiply, not only at times of recession, but also at times of increased economic growth. Likewise anxiety disorders increase when the opportunity for employment is vast, just as much as they do when it is low, and in particular among people of high education level.
Durkheim, noted this phenomena in the late 19th century, a time when capitalism centered around the second industrial revolution, the proprietary nature of European imperialism and Taylor’s scientific management approach to production. While the capitalist mode of production has undergone a number of changes since then (most notably the move away from Fordism), it seems that Durkheim’s theories may speak to us about the nature of mental health among contemporary workers. While much emphasis is placed upon the flexible, mobile nature of current labour and the contemporary worker thought to be free from the oppressive temporal and spatial chains of factory life, theorists such as Mark Fisher & Franco Berardi have called attention to how current modes of production drain workers of cognitive and emotional energy and may give rise to a range of mental disorders. This talk by Susan Gill unpacks the issues that Fisher & Berardi are concerned with through a detailed explanation of current labour forms and asks if Durkheim’s idea’s can transfer from their roots in 19th century to explain the aetiologies of mental illness among contemporary workers.
For more details on our four part series see here