Burnout in Quebec. Behind Psychological Suffering, Shifting in Social Representation and Relation to Work

  • Laurie KirouacEmail author


It took a little over thirty-five years for burnout, as a “new” syndrome and pathological category, to enjoy resounding social visibility and clinical success, first in the USA and then in Canada and Quebec. But what made this success possible, particularly in Quebec? The last chapter, written by Laurie Kirouac, proposes to see burnout as a transient mental illness (Hacking 1998), that is, as a form of pathology that is inseparable from the social, cultural, and normative changes that a given society is experiencing at a given time. First, it will elaborate on the main clinical definitions of burnout as a diagnostic category in order to highlight how these definitions are, each in their own way, marked by a cultural polarity. Second, the chapter will examine the transformations that social representations of work have undergone in recent decades and how these transformations echo the aforementioned clinical definitions. Third, it will discuss what could be viewed as an increase in the place occupied by work in the lives of contemporaries in recent decades, resulting in an increase in burnout cases.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre de recherche Charles-Le Moyne – Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean sur les innovations en santéUniversity of SherbrookeLongueuilCanada

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