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Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 538–558 | Cite as

Burnout: From Popular Culture to Psychiatric Diagnosis in Sweden

  • Torbjörn Friberg
Original Paper

Abstract

This article aims to understand how burn-out became an object of thought, through the study of certain processes of legitimization. It traces the genealogy of the burn-out concept from the initial article from 1974, via its confirmation as a “disease” in the 1980s, to its appearance as a legitimate diagnosis in Sweden in 1997. The theoretical framework is that of applied metaphysics, which means a study on how a specific phenomenon came into being. Consequently, I take departure from ontology in motion with an approach that concerns the legitimization processes. The conclusion will show the underlying processes of legitimization in relation to the making of a psychiatric object of thought in Swedish society.

Keywords

Burnout Legitimization Object of thought Psychiatric diagnosis Sweden 

Notes

Acknowledgments

A special thanks is extended to the anonymous reviewers of Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry for their comments made to improve this article. I would also like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to Associate Professor Steven Sampson, Department of Social Anthropology, Lund University, for his critical gaze and straightforward comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health and SocietyMalmö UniversityMalmöSweden

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