Publication Date

April 2015

Advisor(s)

Mary Ann Clawson

Major

Sociology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis begins with a theoretical tension between Marx and Durkhiem, between alienation and anomie. It is a tension that runs through the bones of our work-centric society; it permeates organic solidarity, which Durkheim describes as a society connected and regulated through the division of labor. The first chapter sets up this theoretical foundation and follows a deeper exploration down two paths: one deconstructs alienation and anomie through the relationship between our approach to objects and our consciousness of time; the other reveals the overlap of socially constructed and existential experiences of time. And these explorations provide new insight into the resolution of this thesis’s initial tension. The second chapter moves to a more concrete exploration of psychiatry in order to illustrate this tension, prove its prevalence, and think through it more thoroughly. While many have interpreted psychiatric institutions and the pharmaceutical industry as manipulative, it instead reinterprets them as phenomena of larger structural tensions in organic solidarity. It challenges common interpretations of psychiatry and reinterprets patterns of psychiatric prescription as a reflection of the tension between alienation and anomie, paving the way for a novel analysis of psychiatric drugs’ subjective effects. The goal of this isn’t primarily to critique these standard narratives or the bureaucracy of contemporary psychiatry; rather, it is to use the relationship between contemporary psychiatry and work structures to unveil the consciousness of work. The third chapter pivots on post-work discourses, but questions what the end of work actually means. As it attempts to resolve the tension between alienation and anomie that runs through my thesis, it reexamines how our consciousness of time shapes activity, ultimately to pinpoint when activity is no longer work, and how to structure solidarity so that it enables this transcendence. But in simpler terms, the big question for my thesis is: Is it possible to escape work? Can we move from organic to post-work solidarity?

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