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From Psychological Subjects to the Therapeutic Society (and Beyond: to the Rise of the Neurochemical Subject?)

This seminar considers the extent to which it is only since the era of the permissive society that psychotherapy has found a mass audience and examines this. Has this period seen the emergence of a ‘therapy culture’, and if so why? It also however notes the critique of psychoanalysis and the rise of cognitive therapy on one hand and neurochemical models of the self on the other, and explores the reasons for this. The seminar will discuss sources on current attitudes and initiatives drawn from the media by students over the course of the module.


Furedi, Frank, Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age (2004).

Giddens, Anthony, Modernity and Self Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age (1991).

Hayward, Rhodri. '"Our friends electric" : mechanical models of mind in postwar Britain'. In Bunn, G. D.; Lovie, Alexander D.; Richards, Graham D. (ed.), Psychology in Britain : historical essays and personal reflections (Leicester and London: BPS Books and the Science Museum, 2001), 290-308

James, Oliver, Britain on the Couch (1997).

Nudelman, F. ‘Beyond the Talking Cure: Listening to the Female Testimony on The Oprah Winfrey Show’, in Pfister, J. & Schnog N., Inventing the Psychological: Toward a Cultural History of Emotional Life in America (1997), pp. 297-315.

Offer, Avner, Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain since 1950

Rose, Nikolas, ‘Assembling the Modern Self’, in Roy Porter (ed.), Rewriting the Self: Histories from the Renaissance to the Present (1997).

Rose, Nikolas, Governing the Soul, pp. 240-59.

Rose, Nikolas, The Politics of Life Itself (2007): chapter 7 ‘Neurochemical Selves’

Shevlin, Mark; Davies, Mark; Walker, Stephanie; Ramkalawan, Tina. 'A nation under stress : the psychological impact of Diana's death'. In Walter, Tony (ed.), The mourning for Diana (Oxford: Berg, 1999), 89-95.

Sources: selected items from the press and media