Reviews Book

The Age of Melancholy: Major Depression and its Social Origins

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 06 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:102
  1. Philip Thomas, senior lecturer (
  1. Centre for Citizenship and Community Mental Health, School of Health Studies, University of Bradford

    Some people find postmodernism infuriating; some find it puzzling; others yawn. But love it or loathe it, the postmodern critique of psychiatry is here to stay. For some people, though, postmodernism is like a fashion accessory: something to don to create an impression. This, I felt, is the approach taken in The Age of Melancholy.

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    Dan G Blazer

    Routledge, £21.50/$34.95, pp 261 ISBN 0415951887

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    Blazer's central thesis is that the waning of social psychiatry and the rise of biological psychiatry are related. He develops this idea to argue the case for a new form of social psychiatry. This is a potentially interesting argument—after all, psychiatry is prone to different types of dualism, body-mind and mind-society being the most obvious. The reason Blazer's thesis is important is that it has the potential to engage with the body-culture …

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