Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 497–503 | Cite as

Disability and Depression

Symposium: Composing Disability

Abstract

Here, Ann Cvetkovich, interviewed by Abby Wilkerson, brings Cvetkovich’s influential cultural studies analysis of depression explicitly into conversation with disability studies. Cvetkovich understands “feeling bad” (a term she prefers to “depression”) as a defining affective state under neoliberalism. Drawing on a distinctive historical/cultural archive, she challenges the atomism of the neoliberal medical model that frames depression and affective distress more generally as the result of faulty brain chemistry—individual organisms gone awry. Instead, she traces these common experiences to sociopolitical phenomena ranging from current neoliberal demands for productivity as exemplified in university life, to histories of colonization, slavery, and displacement. The conversation considers the value of disability frameworks for understanding mental health diagnoses and the intersections of social institutions, bodily practices, and everyday affective life.

Keywords

Depression Public feeling Disability Queer Neoliberalism Affect 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Shyama Rajendran for her care and diligence in producing a transcript of our conversation, as well as Jonathan Hsy and George Washington University’s Digital Humanities Institute, who provided generous support for this process.

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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.University Writing Program, The George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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