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Introduction - The age of nervousness

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of the book Neurosis and Modernity: The Age of Nervousness in Sweden. The book aims to provide substantial evidence in support of the general thesis that a historical analysis of a single important diagnosis or diagnostic category can fundamentally increase our understanding not only of medical history but also social and cultural history of modernity. The book is divided into three parts. The first part examines the development of the medical care of nervous disorders in the context of modernity and health ideology in Sweden. In part two, the overarching theme is the historical development from 'nervous culture' with its physicalistic language of nerves and the nervous system to the psychodynamically-inspired language of 'psychoculture' revolving around the psyche, psychic conflict and emotional trauma. In part three, the emphasis is on nervous patients and the clinical encounters between doctor and patient.

Keywords: modernity; neurosis; psychiatry; Sweden



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