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The culture of complexes

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Chapter Summary

In Sweden, as in the western world as a whole, neurosis and its more colloquial equivalents, such as nervousness or weak nerves, became a symbol of a psychologised malaise 'managed' by behaviour experts. As a result of socio-cultural changes in Sweden, the psychomedical management and treatment of behaviour complemented the traditional moral and legal forms of governing the behaviour of citizens, while a therapeutic, seemingly non-judgmental approach to 'deviancies' replaced the authoritarian control of marginal groups in society. Consequently, neurosis became a widely-applied psychocultural term that signified the extent to which society had failed to produce healthy citizens. Neurosis not only survived the transition from the Age of Nervousness to the Age of Psychoculture, it absolutely thrived in the new, psychology-inspired environment, where people had 'complexes', and where they increasingly suffered from 'psychic conflict' or 'trauma' rather from weak or shattered nerves.

Keywords: neurosis; psychoculture; psychology; psychomedical management; Sweden; therapeutic

10.1163/ej.9789004160750.i-391.70
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