Literature Based Study (2005)

Charlotte Brady
MA Social and Cultural Theory

Is Feeling Mental the Norm?
Foreword: Page iii 
Abstract: viii
Introduction: Page ix
1.  Is it normal to feel mental?: Page 1
Discarding individual experiences: Page 5
The pathologisation of everyday life: Page 9
2.  Institutions past and present
Traditional institutions and identity: Page 12
Resistance to ideology: Page 14
Western culture and change: Page 16
Choices and decision making: Page 16
Challenging institutions, changing institutions:
The family as an institution: Page 21
The television as an institution: Page 24
Consumption as an institution Page 27
3.  A culture of uncertainty
Anxiety: Page 30
Future Shock: Page 33
4.  The structure of mentalism: Page 36
Acceleration of change = duration: Page 39
Toffler- Acceleration within = aceleration without: Page 39
Bergsonian Time = time * time: Page 41
5.  Being different and creative people: Page 45
Conclusion: Page 42
References: Page 56
Bibliography: Page 59
Today the word “identity” is a buzz word.  It has become one of those words, which everyone talks about.   For instance in business managers may learn the importance of promoting the organisation’s image through marketing campaigns, local councillors will be aware of different ethnic minorities in their municipal, and therapists will teach their clients to be self-reflexive.   Whether at work, at home, or out socialising,  most people have some idea of who they are, who they want to be and how others perceive them, even if not all of us take the time to sit down and really think about it. I am one of those people who will sit and think about who I am.  My identity is vital to me, probably only because I feel until now, I have had limited control over it.   This foreword explains my identity in a bid to show the reader how I came to the theory of mentalism
In reflection, it seems that I have so far spent my whole life trying to fit in, to be perceived as normal, to be accepted by others.  I have always felt different to other people and as much as I have tried, I have never truly felt as if I fitted in. For example, as a child I was deemed strange by my peers for listening and loving Elvis Presley and reading up on Astronomy, which at the age of 7 in 1987, was a little out of the ordinary. When I was a teenager I had a tendency towards being a bit different, shouting a lot and wearing wacky clothes (first I was a Goth with the black lipstick, the Doc Martin boots, listening to Nirvana and Guns and Roses, and then a Raver, white gloves, whistle and all).  Of course, these are subcultures that many people have been part of, but my outgoing personality and experimentation with clothes seemed to earn me an identity associated with being labeled mental.  I remember one particular time at school.  I had bought a new bright florescent orange bomber jacket from Top Shop, which I thought was really cool, but when I wore it at school people said that I was “mental”, that I was a “freak”.  My choice in clothes seemed to make me stand out from the crowd. Even when I tried to conform a little more to the general fashion trends people still commented on my “mad” personality.  As I have grown up this “mental” label has followed me where ever I have gone and whomever I have associated with.  I eventually started to associate myself with this label and played up to it to fulfil what I thought people expected from me.  Part of me liked this label because to me it meant difference and that was always one part of my identity, which seemed to feel comfortable.  However, I also felt at times that this label was meant in a nasty way, like when I wore my orange bomber jacket. This label made me feel like an outsider, someone that did not fit into any particular group properly. 

In my later teens I took this identity to a whole new level seriously experimenting with drugs and alcohol.  I got in with what most people would deem the wrong crowd.  Quite rapidly my identity evolved from a girl who was a bit of nutter in a good way to a girl who was a bit of a psycho, this mental label following me though I no longer felt as if I had control of it, it had control of me.  Of course, I did eventually calm down, passed my A-levels, went to university, passed my degree, but somewhere along the line I realised my whole sense of worth and identity had disappeared, and I had no idea how.  It was only when I took a life changing choice to move abroad for a year to study that everything came to a head and I suddenly understood the label of mental on a completely new level.
I found myself on my own in the middle of Brussels in a small room with no alcohol, no drugs, no friends or family at hand, no money, no TV.  Unexpectedly, in the middle of this multi-lingual European city it dawned on me, without all those British traditions, TV programs, night life, drinking habits, without all those set British styles which I was used to seeing around me - fashions, cars, lifestyle choices, as well as landscapes - shops, buildings, familiar local sites - without all of these things I realised (yet I know it is a cliché)…I don’t know who I am? 
In this increasing therapeutic culture I find myself in, of course, I came home and went straight into counselling.  I battled with the world around me, which was once again trying to label me as mental.  My family was convinced I was depressed and the doctor suggested I take anti-depressants.  I declined his offer and instead confided in my counsellor that I did not believe I was depressed and she agreed.  It seemed people were so ready to label me as depressed, though I know now they had no other label to work with.  Counseling became a way of finding an identity, which would fit, though I spent a lot of my time questioning my counsellor’s ethos.  In therapy, you see, counsellors’ explain that you need to find the real or true you; however, I had only recently been learning in my degree in Cultural Studies of how identity is more of a social construction than a natural phenomenon, therefore, I believed I had no natural traits to discover. Anyhow, my counsellor and I agreed I needed to gain an identity of some sort and so this became the main aim of my sessions.  Eventually after a year of continual development I finished my counselling.  My identity was by no means complete and will never be, but I had reached a stage where I could take control of it confidently and mould it how I liked. I stress here though that this identity was by no means my true identity.  Instead it was a perspective of my self which allowed me to once again function as well as feel happy and comfortable in this world. I could feel different to other people, wear different clothes, have different opinions, but most importantly, I no longer felt mental, instead I accepted I was different.
Nowadays, feeling more relaxed in who I am, I have a variety of lifestyle choices at my disposal.  I choose to be a vegetarian and campaign to save local architecture.  I choose to be an activity co-coordinator working on a forensic psychiatric ward, where I have complete creative control of how I develop the role. All these choices, of course help to make up part of my identity but from my experience it is what I feel inside that is my own identity. How others perceive me is their own perspective of my identity.
Bizarre as it may seem to start a dissertation with such a subjective foreword, I believe it is important for you to know about my identity. This brief narrative of my experience will hopefully give you an idea of how I have come to adopt this new theoretical viewpoint called mentalism.  Experiencing and combating mentalism has certainly taught me to be a more open minded, creative and non judgmental individual and so if I can explain to others half of what I have learned in this last year then it will be worthwhile.

I am not alone, I believe this mental is the new norm.
Charlotte Brady
Is Feeling Mental the Norm?
Nowadays, when mental ill-health is claimed to be at its highest, people are making correlations between this epidemic and the western culture they reside in.  This dissertation explores the idea that western culture is producing a personal and collective feeling I call mentalism, which I define as the actual feeling of being mental.  Whether or not people who experience this feeling are actually mentally ill is a largely debatable topic, one which I only briefly explain this time, because here I am more concerned with where this feeling comes from and why so many of us may possibly feel this way.
Focusing particularly on the institution and its traditional role in building identity, I discover that the acceleration of change is making institutions and identity fluid.  Institutions, which once created ideals for us all to live up to in order to feel normal, seem to be cracking under the strain of the acceleration of change.  One writer even suggests that such ideals are mythical and never truly existed in the first place.  For the westerner this instatic existence only causes senses of failure and difference and this is where I believe the feeling of being mental stems from.  It seems feeling mental is not feeling you fit the norm, whatever you think that might be.  However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as I suggest that to feel and be different in this day and age is good and could even prove to be profitable.  I suggest that people should embrace their difference and discard traditional ideals in order to feel happy in this postmodern era.
Before introducing you properly to the theory of mentalism I would like to explain the reasons behind my choice of methodology.   I decided my dissertation should have a literature based research approach because it allowed me to explain my theory of mentalism by using a variety of diverse and hopefully recognized and valued writers.  Although I could have used the same writers if I had adopted an empirical approach I do not believe I would have had the same opportunity to explain my theory in such detail.  Instead I feel I would have been dragged into the process of analyzing the group of people I was researching and the theory of mentalism might not have even been mentioned in the key findings of the research.  Using a literature approach for me secured my ability to discuss my theory at length using carefully selected material that would support my viewpoint.  I feel I would have less control over the outcomes of an empirical research approach. 


In recent years many writers have blamed the changing structure and development of western culture for the epidemic of mental ill-health (i.e. Toffler, 1970; Gottschalk, 1988; Jameson, 1988; Petro, 1989; Gergen, 1991; Giddens, 1991; Kroker 1992; Pfister and Schnog, 1997).  However, no one talks of the actual subjective and perhaps even collective feeling that can occur separately, as well as alongside the labels of mental ill-health, the feeling that individuals place upon themselves, the inner most feeling and most probably fear, at times, of being or becoming mental. The first part of this thesis will explain what I mean when I refer to the word mental as difference, and how this feeling stems from the structure (or increasing lack of it) and development of contemporary culture.   In order to explain this theory, which I have coined mentalism, I must first give the reader a better idea of the western culture I am referring to.  I explain how today we experience a world which has its roots grounded solidly in the acceleration of change.  I explain how contemporary individuals find themselves constantly bombarded by choices and more frequent decisions to make, and how this is leading to an increase in mental ill- health, as well as to a feeling of being mental.  With the help of Foucault (1977), Althusser (1971) and Giddens (1991), I look at the institutions that once structured the western world and the identities of its people.  I look at how institutions such as the family, were once unquestionable structures that shaped how a person thought and behaved, institutions that people relied upon to project their identity towards others, as well as upon themselves. In comparison, I go on to look at how institutions today are fragile.  For example, the structure of the family has become fluid, it is forever changing.  There is no one right way to be a family in this day and age.  As the family becomes instatic, identities too take on this trait.  For example, roles within the family become blurred and the whole question of gender takes on new and changing meanings.  It seems today institutions’ power to construct our culture and our identities become limited as people start to question their motives, their values and their power.  As institutions such as the family break down other institutions come to the forefront and thrive on the instatic culture surrounding them.  For instance, writers explain how consumer culture is creating a milieu of institutions such as TV and the conglomerate, shaping how a person lives their life and creates their identity (Bocock, 1995; Evans, 2001; Ridderstrale and Nordstrom, 2000).
The break down of traditional institutions and the continual growth of these newer institutions has been acknowledged as contributing to the increased mental ill-health of individuals in western culture (See Toffler, 1970).  To exemplify this point I investigate a variety of labels that writers have placed upon the contemporary individual in my bid to uncover the subculture of mental distress and the feeling of being mental that is until now largely neglected.  I suggest that perhaps there is no other way for us to deal with the feelings that our culture is helping us to create, language is limited and our senses perceive endless experiences that language fails to provide us with the adequate tools to explain.  Mentally ill labels become one way of explaining our experiences.  These labels include “Future Shock” (Toffler, 1970), Multiphrenia (Gergen, 1991), and anxiety (Smail, 1997; Giddens, 1991).  These labels uncover a pattern, which show how individuals engage with the material, objective culture that surrounds them whilst simultaneously neglecting their subjective feelings.  I use the work of Henri Bergson (1964) and David Smail (1997) to explain how the feeling of mentalism occurs because of this deficit to seriously engage with the inner self in contemporary culture.  I insist that our culture puts too much emphasis on constructing an identity or, in many cases, a set of identities, which evolve around the material world we live in.  In this way the self you are meant to be or can be, becomes lost and hence mentalism sets in. 
I realise this is a controversial subject especially in this day and age when it is becoming increasingly recognised that the self is more socially constructed than innate (See Sarup, 2002; Butler, 1990; Gergen, 1991), however, on this occasion I do not wish to debate this long winded discussion. I merely wish to acknowledge that there are aspects of everybody’s identity, which cannot simply be explained through their biological or social make up.  Somewhere amongst all the different aspects of our identity lies a state of individuality and uniqueness, although some have more difficulty than others at locating it.  It is this part of our identity I am concerned with here as I believe it is this that conflicts with the external world around us.  This part of the self is not fragmented but combines our unconscious and our conscious thoughts and behaviour.  We witness this part of the self through dreams, memories, feelings of fate, slips of the tongue, deja-vu and from music and pieces of art.  I term this feeling “intuition”, as taken from the work of Henri Bergson (1964). This feeling cannot be labeled innate or socially constructed as we do not know enough about it and this is not my cause on this occasion, I would like to just acknowledge it exists.  I suggest to embrace our subjective difference will not only benefit us as individuals, making us feel more fulfilled as people, but will also benefit the new “Creative Economy” (Mulgan, 1999) we find ourselves in, as we become more creative, open-minded and non judgmental civilians. Combating mentalism means admitting you are different and embracing it.

Is it Normal to Feel Mental?

You don’t have to be mentally ill to experience mental illness.

(Saneline, 2004 leaflet)


I came across this slogan on the front cover of a leaflet promoting a helpline for people experiencing mental ill-health and it got me thinking.  The more I read the slogan the more confused I got until the slogan seemed to lose its initial meaning, the one I saw as the organisations intentional meaning, if I had read the sentence correctly. I will explain how I think this slogan shows how feeling mental is interpreted in society today by giving you an insight into my thought processes as I read the slogan again and again.


At first, the slogan seemed to suggest that psychological problems are normal and that experiencing them does not mean you are mentally ill.  But then I realised that to understand what I believed to be the intended message, you had to have a preconception of mental illness and the mentally ill.  It seemed the slogan was tapping into a cultural connotation of madness. I realised the label mentally ill connoted the stigma attached to psychological problems, a label used today to describe those people who think and act differently to that expected of them in society.  In relation to normal ways of behaving, these people think and act in so called “abnormal” ways.  Warning of the dangers of labelling Foucault explains how supposedly neutral and scientific terminology routinely carries moral charges resulting in scapegoating and stigmatisation (1979).  The stigma produced by mental illness labels can be the result of fear as the mentally ill can often be seen as violent or dangerous to others.  This is the core meaning of the word “stigma”, that of fear and danger.  It seems “we believe a person with a stigma is not quite human…We construct a stigma theory, an ideology to explain his inferiority and account for the danger he represents” (Goffman, 1963: 15).  Nowadays, the media, is one way in which the stigma of mental ill health can be reinforced. 


Media coverage tends to give the impression that people with mental health problems are all on the verge of ‘exploding’ and are potential killers.  They don’t seem to focus on the wide range of mental issues.  I am a young person and feel it has permanently scarred me.  Media coverage has affected so many areas of my life – our lives evolve around the media.  I feel hopeless-of a chance for integration into ‘normal’ life (MIND website, 2005).
A recently published survey by the mental health charity MIND has uncovered a significant correlation between the media, mental health and stigma.  The survey called “Counting the Cost” (2005) says that “ negative and unbalanced media coverage of mental health issues, over the past three years, has increased mental health problems and social exclusion amongst people with psychiatric diagnoses…the findings highlight how media coverage has had a direct impact on the lives of people with mental health problems, and the influence of the media has on the attitudes and behaviour of the general public and family and friends and fuels the stigma of mental health problems” (MIND website, 2005.  Films, for example, are one medium that can portray people with mental health problems in a negative light.    


Caricatures of people in mental distress have often appeared in a certain genre of films. Horror or ‘slasher’ movies often contain a ‘psycho’ character or resolve themselves with a character being revealed as mentally ill, for example Scream II. This makes for an easy plot device. No thought need be given to the murderer’s motivation – the state of his/her mental health is seen as an explanation in itself. It also means that the character can behave in an unpredictable way.

(MIND website / films, 2005)

However, it must be mentioned that some films do portray a much more sensitive view of mental ill-health.  For example, A Beautiful Mind (2002) starring Russel Crow, depicts the true story of a maths genius who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, which gives you an insight into living with mental illness and helps to break down the stigmas surrounding it.  Nevertheless, here I wish to focus on my belief that part of the medias role is to project a sense of normality nationally.   Part of this role has been to reinforce the stigmas surrounding mental illness in order to highlight the dichotomy between normal and abnormal people.  In this way, the portrayal of the mentally ill as abnormal and feared may work to secure a sense of being normal for the rest of us.  Afterall, without abnormal people is there any such thing as normal?  As I will suggest later, today we live in a culture which embraces normality, it seems we need normality in order to secure a sense of who we are.   For example, the doctrines of rationality and objectivity which we live by (which I will discuss later in more detail) embrace the normal as it secures common norms and values for us to follow.  The slogan You don’t have to be mentally ill to experience mental illness is only one way in which the sense of being normal can be mediated.  The slogan highlights that dichotomy between normal people and abnormal people. It says that a normal person can experience mental illness without becoming an abnormal mentally ill person.   However, is it right to have such a distinction exist today?


Mental illness can be seen as a convenient tool for oppressing subjective realities, for keeping order and the myth of normality alive (See Smail, 1997; Anderson, Gergen and Hoffman in Kaslow, 1996). The term has been recognised as normalising western culture.  By oppressing the experiences of certain individuals who do not fit the norm, a feeling of normality can be created for everybody else in western culture. In a nut shell, the label of mental illness is a person’s individual experience of reality and society’s discard for it.  In Madness and Civilisation (2003) Foucault claims to be writing the history of the Other, the Other being people who are mad.  However Jacques Derrida criticises Foucault as he contends that ‘if madness is constituted as madness, as other, by reason, then this means that reason is itself defined through it and therefore already contains and depends on it’ (1978: 34).  On this basis, I find myself questioning how useful the labels of mental illness are.  Perhaps, such labels stemming from modern discourse need to be reformed for postmodern times.  Like the patriarchal discourses associated with women in modern times as natural ways of order, perhaps madness needs to be seen as another oppressing discourse which denies people their subjective realities.  This could then coincide with the postmodern cultural and political shift to embrace difference, which I will also explore in greater detail near the end of this thesis.  


Discarding Individual Experiences

For now, I wish to ground my position as opposing the labelling of mental illness because it supports one type of experience over another.  Generalising this experience within a limited diagnostic label in this way only proves to devalue the supposedly mad person’s reality as well as making mental illness one of the main aspects of that persons identity, if they like it or not.  I realise the usefulness of diagnosing a person with a particular mental illness in terms of improving that person’s health and welfare but I also see it as a way of generalising the experience of that individual, and I believe this is a dangerous and unhelpful approach.  For example, professionals working with a person labelled as depressed may pick up on behaviour that a “normal” person could get away with, but  this persons label emphasises the difference in their experiences making every aspect of their life open to scrutiny.  For example, a doctor labelling a person “depressed”, submerges the individual within the social, cultural and biological realms of that label, and simultaneously suppresses any individual experiences that may lurk outside this classification.  Depression and some other mental illnesses, then, are construed as collective markers that discard subjective experiences. Anderson, though not discussing mental illness but the labelling of a young woman as anorexic explains:


People believed in the diagnosis and made presumptions about this woman on the grounds that she was anorexic, not on the basis of anything else about her.  Then, when the clinician looked past the diagnosis it was more possible to see through the mystification and get a more realistic grip on the problem and the possibilities of resolution.

(Anderson, 1996: 2)


For the sake of this argument I only look at neurotic mental illness, those illnesses which can be one off episodes (such as depression, anxiety, stress).  I leave more enduring mental illnesses, termed psychotic mental illness (i.e. Bipolar and Schizophrenia) to another time.  This is purely because I intend to look at mental labels that the majority of us may experience from time to time in our lives.  However, this is not to say that western culture does not play a major role in the onset and development of say schizophrenia as there is substantial evidence that it does (See Laing and Esterson, 1986).  The reason for discussing these mental labels is to highlight how the individual today is often forced into expressing their postmodern experiences within these modern linguistic frameworks as it is all both professionals and laymen have at their disposal.  With only modern psychological categories to describe and explain their postmodern feelings I will show the reader how the individual is forced into feeling mental.


To summarise, the main point I am trying to make here is that I believe one person’s reality is no less real than the next persons and that people who experience mental distress may be people who can tap into realities that most of us choose or are conditioned into neglecting and oppressing.   Mental illness labels then become a specific way of suppressing individual experiences. Hoffman advises ‘every time you build a world of ideas or join one, it is like a screening device that limits you from seeing other worlds.  But this is the way things are.  We name problems’ (1996: 1).  Many writers have acknowledged that labeling a person can cause other experiences to disappear or at least be suppressed (See Goffman, 1961; Rodsen, 1973; Scheff, 1966).  For example, there have been many writers who have suggested we live in a society, which embraces consciousness and suppresses unconsciousness (Jung, 1995, Smail, 1997).  But what if mental illness is the ability to embrace the unconscious more freely, why is this less valued than the conscious world we see around us? Today it seems we are conditioned into “normal” ways of thinking and behaving and it has been suggested that this is how we learn to embrace the conscious world and suppress the unconscious one. Carl Gustav Jung says the educational system teaches us to ‘value external rules and regulations and devalue our private inner experiences’ (Jung, 1995: 362).  He says that ‘every effort is made to teach idealistic beliefs or conduct which people know in their hearts they can never live up to, and such ideals are preached by officials who know that they themselves have never lived up to these high standards and never will.  What is more, nobody ever questions the value of this kind of teaching’ (Ibid).  One such idealistic belief is that of normality.  This is a common value that most people hope to live up to, the hope of being normal.  However, this is increasingly a standard, which few people can ever hope of achieving. As our society evolves I think more and more of us are finding it difficult to live up to this normal way of being in the world and hence we feel increasingly abnormal or what I term  mental.  Therefore, feeling mental results from two things. Firstly, your subjective feelings (both conscious and unconscious), which I define as the reality you experience as an individual, does not coincide with what you perceive as the normal way to experience the world, or the way you have been conditioned socially to experience the world. Secondly, others around you dismiss your subjective reality and confirm your abnormal behaviour by commenting on it or by labelling you mentally ill in either a casual or medical sense.


However, as traditional institutions such as the education system become fluid who is to say what normal is anymore anyway?  Who is to say that the doctors are working with the right labels to class a person as mentally ill in the 21st century?  Perhaps these mental labels are wrong or perhaps these labels no longer fit the experience of the contemporary individual.  I agree with Foucault when he says ‘try to return, in history, to that zero point in the course of madness at which madness is an undifferentiated experience, a not yet divided experience of division itself’ (2003: viii).  He makes a good point here. Why can’t we go back to a time when madness would not necessarily carry the stigma and annihilation it does today?  Why can’t people with mental illness be accepted and embraced as other people are supposed to be.  For example, why can’t we walk down the road and accept that there’s Bob the milkman, Jerry the Postman, and Tom, the depressive.  If we all accepted people with mental illness and integrated them more fully into society then feeling mental might not be such a scary thought.  My cause is for people to somehow acknowledge and appreciate the normality of mental illness in all its various forms.

The Pathologisation of Everyday Life. 

Mental derangement is a malfunctioning of normal thought operations.  It occurs in all degrees of seriousness and triviality and probably very few persons indeed are entirely free from it in some form.

(Rethink Registered Charity 2003.  Website)

After all, as the above quote implies, it seems everyone suffers from some degree of mental illness.  In recent times, numerous psychopathologies and syndromes have been discovered which have contributed to what Fee describes as the ‘more general phenomenon of the pathologisation of everyday life’ (2000: 186).  He sees this developing as a result of us feeling more and more aspects of our life as problematic.  We increasingly feel and express ‘doubt about our performance as parents, as lovers, as workers, and scrutinise our thoughts and feelings for signs of some developmental flaw, perversion, or personal inadequacy’ (Ibid).  He says that we make it our top priority to compare ourselves to others, checking if we fit the way other people behave and think in a bid to be normal. It has been customary to place our experiences into psychological frameworks and people rely on a whole variety of psycho-clinicians to label their experiences in hope of gaining an understanding, but also, more so perhaps, a feeling of their experience as being somewhat normal.    Being labelled with mental illness can be a fear for many, due to the stigma attached to it, but on the other hand, it can soothe a person who fears their unstable mentality.  To some, to feel mental and not know why, can be much more distressing than being labelled with mental illness. However, for most people feeling mental is a feeling kept deep down inside which will only ever emerge if they can no longer deal with it on their own.  Smail (1997) believes most of us experience psychological distress of some kind and it cannot be measured on the basis of those few that seek medical help for it. 


It has never been my feeling that the ‘patients’ who have consulted me over the years are ‘abnormal’ in any particularly meaningful sense, though it is often the case that they have been defined as such by others (family, friends, doctors, psychiatrists and other professional colleagues) or by themselves.  It seems likely to me that it is the extent rather than the kind of unhappiness which drives someone to seek professional help, and it seems therefore logical to conclude that there must be many, probably a majority of people who have not yet been driven that far but who are almost equally unhappy.  The problems of ‘patients’, that is, point to a malaise, which is likely to be general among ‘normal’ people in our society rather than specific to a particular, relatively small group of people who are thought to have succumbed to some kind of personal inadequacy.

(Smail, 1997: 3)


Smail states the boundary between normal people and mentally ill people is somewhat blurred and this is what my thesis seeks to address, that the line is not so clearly defined between how so called normal and mentally ill people think and behave, it’s the label, instead, that makes this distinction.  In addition, I locate mental illness at the level of the culture that surrounds the individual rather than on the level of the individual exclusively (See Fee, 2000: 186-206).  Therefore, I now wish to look at culture more closely in a bid to explain how it may affect our mentality and cause us to feel mental.  I will look at how contemporary western culture is changing us as people, changing our identities and changing the way we feel the world around us. Subsequently, at the heart of my work is the belief that the acceleration of change is having a significant effect on how we experience the world.  More specifically in the next section I focus on how the changing structure of institutions is affecting the contemporary individual causing the feeling of mentalism to occur.  Firstly I will explain how our identities were shaped before such change bombarded our lives by exploring the role and importance of the traditional institution.

 Institutions Past and Present

Traditional Institutions and Identity

A number of writers have acknowledged how traditional institutions shape the way people understand themselves and their identity. Louis Althusser describes institutions as “Ideological State Apparatuses” (ISA) which construct identity through a process of “interpolation” or hailing. Althusser says its ‘through ISA’s we understand our world and thereby ourselves as subjects in the world through the mediation of ISA’s like education, religion, the family, the legal system’ (1971: 121-76).  Althusser writes:


Interpolation…can be imagined along the lines of the most common place everyday police (or other hailing: ‘Hey, you there!’…).  The hailed individual will turn round.  By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject.  Why?  Because he has recognised that the hail was ‘really’ addressed to him, and that ‘it was really him who was hailed (and not someone else).

(Sarup, 2002: 53)


Althusser’s work was a radical breakthrough in identity politics and in the theory of ideology as it emphasised that ideologies have a material existence and that our consciousness, and hence our identity, is actually constructed through these ideologies.  Michel Foucault agrees with Althusser that ‘systems of power such as the family or the legal system produce subjects…[so that] seemingly unchanging ideas like madness, criminality, justice, sexuality and medicine…shape the ways in which people understand themselves as subjects (Chinn, 1997: 297).  ‘Traditionally, the role of institutions has been to simplify.  Strong and stable institutions subsume our freedom.  This reduces uncertainty.  We are free, but within tidy parameters erected by our institutions.  Institutions act as stabilisers, touches of gray to tone down the bright colours’ (Ridderstrale and Nordstrom, 2000: 51).  Giddens (1991: 44) argues that we place trust in these institutions or “abstract systems”, as he calls them, in a bid to regain a sense of “ontological security”.  This is the sense of security we experienced as babies.  Instead, as adults, we place this sense of trust onto professionals – academics, scientists, medics, lawyers and technicians, which makes us feel secure.  Smail (1997) agrees and also suggests, like Jung mentioned earlier, that educational, as well as political, legal, cultural and social establishments, represent ideal values and norms for us to live by and understand ourselves as people, as a community and as a culture.


It is from such institutions, and their representatives that we gain our ideas about what is right, true and real, as well as about what kinds of personal characteristics are admirable.  We accord the representatives of our institutions with all the qualities we know ourselves to lack: the experts are expert, the educated clever and knowledgeable, politicians have our interests at heart, scientists are wise, doctors know how to cure disease, lawyers are motivated by a concern for justice…These, it seems, are ideal people representing an ideal world (Smail, 1997: 6).
Resistance to Ideology
On the whole, there was never much resistance to the ideology transmitted by traditional institutions because ideology portrays itself as the natural order.  It is a largely unquestionable source. For example, discourses concerning gender were taken as the natural way of life. Before feminism, the fact that men would go to work and be the bread winner and women stayed at home and reared children were roles that were widely unquestionable and so too were discourses which supported the view that men were the stronger sex. Due to feminism, we now realise that these ideologies oppressed women’s subjective realities.   As Sarup maintains ‘ideologies formed as means of domination…are never simply free to set their own terms but are always marked by what they are opposing; no ideology takes shape outside a struggle with some opposing ideology’ (2002: 53). Therefore, such ideologies can only exist when they oppress an “Other”, exemplified here through feminist and patriarchal discourses. Although ideologies cannot exist without a sense of domination over another ideology, it is not always easy to define the ideology it struggles with.  Therefore, the traditional institution and the common-sensical ideology it transmits are only successful whilst the struggling ideology is invisible. Traditional institutions and ideologies are only questioned when these oppressed ideologies and subjectivities become visible.  This can have a phenomenal impact on the structure of society, changing and breaking down the views and practices of traditional institutions.  It could be argued this is the point at which the postmodern world takes over the modern one, when discourses appear to question modern views.  However, the traditional institution, its ideologies and discourses were rarely questioned and in this way, people had a good idea of who they were, the roles they were expected to play and the norms and values they were expected to live up to. This, I believe, gave most people a sense of belonging as well as a sense that they fitted into society.

However, how are we suppose to order our lives if these important institutions break down? How do we see ourselves if these institutions start to change dramatically before our very eyes?  How can we be interpolated into subjects as Althusser proposes, when these institutions transform from fixed and stable structures within our culture into fluid and instatic ones?  According to Ridderstrale and Nordstrom (2000), these new and changing institutions change our identities, adding new meanings to our identities as well to our norms and social values.  Before I explore this changing structure of contemporary institutions I would like to firstly give the reader a better sense of the contemporary culture individuals now find themselves in, in a bid to emphasise the conditions in which mentalism occurs. 

Western Culture and Change

For the western individual the culture that surrounds us is changing quickly. Information technology connects humans to each other more than ever before through ‘a networked, deeply interdependent economy (Castells, 1996: 66).  As technology develops, knowledge flows through these networks globally and locally making it easier and quicker for people to communicate with one another.  We have to be flexible in the way we learn.  We need to learn more than ever before as our skills go out of date and our minds need to adapt to the forever changing structure of employment (See Mulgan, 1999).  We have to be flexible in the way we work and the way we build and dispose of relationships (Sennett, 1998: 63).  As change bombards our lives constantly we have to learn to deal with it.  The faster we can change and adapt to other people’s expectations of us and our own expectations, the better we will feel we fit into this world. 


Choices and Decision Making
We are caught up in a world, which demands we make choices about what car we have, the amount of children we bear and the clothes we wear.  This world demands we make daily, hourly, secondly choices on the routes we take going to work, the radio station to listen to, and to use or not to use the installed satellite navigation system.  Continually we are stuck in a world of choices with decisions to make.  To survive in this world we have to keep making these decisions.  Nordstrom and Ridderstrale (2000: 70) argue these choices give us freedom, all these choices and decisions we have at our disposal give us the opportunity we have never had before, to explore the world, to be who we want to be, to expand our minds and fill our pockets with money.  But they warn ‘enjoy it because tomorrow we are going to wake up in a world in which we all need to realise that we are condemned to freedom – the freedom to choose’ (Ridderstrale and Nordstrom, 2000: 70). Ridderstrale and Nordstrom also see choices giving the individual more responsibility. 

With choice comes responsibility.  Responsibility for our own health, for our own education, for our own careers – responsibility of our own lives.  The more opportunities there are, the more responsibilities there are for us as individuals.  We have been given greater responsibility at a time when the old certainties have evaporated.  The institutions, values and technologies that previously existed are disappearing.  The decisions and choices of today and the future will be made in a climate of all-embracing uncertainty.

(Ridderstrale and Nordstrom, 2000: 70-71)


It is our responsibility to make choices but as there are so many choices to choose from decision making becomes a very difficult task.  It is as if the culture we find ourselves in gives us so many choices that it makes it impossible to choose.  Toffler says that in fact we are experiencing an information overload, and this coupled with the acceleration of change actually causes a decision-making crisis for individuals in techno-societies.  He explains ‘masses of men [and women] in these societies already feel themselves harried, futile, incapable of working out their private futures.  The conviction that the rat – race is too tough, that things are out of control is the inevitable consequence of these clashing forces.  For the uncontrolled acceleration of scientific, technological and social change subverts the power of the individual to make sensible, competent decisions about his own destiny’ (Toffler, 1970: 326). 


Challenging institutions, Changing Institutions

Information overload occurs due to the development and advancement of information technology.  For example, the growth of the World Wide Web makes almost anything available to anyone, anywhere and at anytime.  If knowledge is power, power now potentially resides everywhere (Ridderstrale and Nordstrom, 2000: 21) and this may explain why ‘it is calculated that some 90 percent of all scientists who have ever walked the face of the Earth are alive right now (Ibid).  With people being able to access knowledge, authority is increasingly questioned.


The stupid, loyal and humble customer, employee, and citizen is dead.  Voters are challenging politicians; subordinates are challenging managers; students are challenging professors; patients are challenging doctors; kids are challenging parents; customers are challenging companies; and women and challenging men.  Anyone whose claim to fame rests on an historical information advantage is challenged – challenged by individuals, organisations and regions with direct access to the same information.  It is a power shift.  Power now belongs to the people (Ridderstrale and Nordstrom, 2000: 46).


Judith Butler is someone who questions traditional institutions and the norms they produce.  She considers gender a norm and is particularly interested in how institutions shape our sense of gender.  To Butler gender is a “social fiction” (Butler, 1999: 178).  In Gender Trouble (1990) she uses the work of Althusser and Foucault (as described earlier) to ground her theory of ‘gender performativity’.  She suggests that traditional institutions make out that gender is a natural form and that, instead, we are conditioned into gender roles and behaviour through the discourses institutions mediate. She says that we are interpolated into gender from birth.  A child labelled as ‘a girl’ will be required to perform girlness as a natural way of being and this will be enforced by educational institutes, parents, magazines and so on.  She says ‘there is no gender identity behind the expression of gender…identity is perfomatively constituted by the very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its results’ (1990: 25).  Butlers work is seen as an important development in postmodern thought as it unleashes the concept of the ‘performance’ of gender as identity rather than gender as predetermined. But to Butler, performativity is meant not in the theatrical sense where the individual can reflect on their performance but instead is embedded in our “habitus” (Bourdieu, 1984), our ‘common sense’, unreflexive ways of being.  However, in contrast, Frykman and Lofgen argue that the diverse culture we find ourselves in helps us to realise our unreflexive habits.


…In a mobile culture where people constantly meet otherness, habits are brought to the surface, becoming manifest and thereby challenged.  It is precisely because people in their everyday lives meet different habits that they are forced to verbalise and make conscious the things that are otherwise taken for granted and thus invisible.  Once a habit has been described, it has also become something on which one must take up a stance, whether to kick the habit or to stick tenaciously to it.

(1996: 14)

Toffler too suggests that the culture of over choice causes us to be more self reflective.  He says that we are now more than ever prone to self-examination, soul searching, introversion (Toffler, 1970: 289-90).  Therefore, more of us may be starting to realise how we perform our identity, especially now when fixed ideas about gender become more fluid.  I will now briefly explore how the family, the television, and consumption, all as institutions, change the way people may understand their identity, especially gender, which may result in turn to mental illness or at least to feeling they do not fit the norm.  


The Family as an Institution.

The notion of family is changing constantly.  There are many variations and forms of the family now compared to the classic extended family (See Browne, 1992: 210-15).  However, it is still felt that the privatised nuclear form of family is the most successful in society, which combines a mother, a father and a couple of children.  Today, it is argued, amongst other types of family forms, i.e. single parent families, there is a relatively new family structure emerging, the ‘symmetrical’ family.  Whereas the traditional family consisted of a man and woman who had separate conjugal roles, nowadays, the symmetrical family has integrated conjugal roles.  This means that in comparison to the traditional family, where the father worked and the mother stayed at home and reared children, today both partners have a more equal role.  Both partners are more likely to be in paid employment.  Household chores are interchangeable and flexible, with males taking on traditional female tasks like housework, washing and ironing clothes, cooking, shopping, etc, whereas the female partner is more likely to take on traditional male roles such as household repairs, looking after the car, etc.  Partners now share common friends, leisure activities and decision making (Browne, 1992: 229).  Therefore, in this sense the traditional notion of family is breaking down.  Ridderstrale and Nordstrom believe the family is breaking down in other ways too.


Today there is little doubt that traditional notions of what constitutes a family are breaking down.  Divorce rates are skyrocketing and a lot of young people never marry – they stay single or just live together.  As it stands the family could soon become a luxury item – happily married couples with 2.4 happy children (a pet dog, and a whitewashed house with a picket fence) will be the exceptions, unusual archetypes of a fading idea. (Ridderstrale and Nordstrom, 2000, 61). 


However, I do not believe the family is breaking down instead I think it is more sensible to say that its structure is changing and we have to admit the different ways now of interpreting a family unit.  It is also argued that the integrated roles I refer to above have been suggested to be a myth.  Evidence from the 1988 British Social Attitudes Survey suggests that women still perform the majority of domestic tasks around the home, even when they have paid jobs themselves.  Even among full time working women, where one would expect to find the greatest degree of equality, cooking the evening meal, household cleaning, washing and ironing, and caring for sick children were still mainly performed by women (Browne, 1992: 230).  Therefore, the boundaries between what people do and the roles they are expected to carry out are blurring.  People have less idea of what is expected of them, who they want to be and who they are being. Ridderstrale and Nordstrom argue that today if you know what you want to be, you are free to be it. They look at the world now as if it is a stage in which we as actors can improvise the life ahead of us.


Instead of conventional costume drama, we now have constant, unscripted, improvised theatre.  The director has left, the original play has been cancelled and the script is missing.  The spectators are pouring on to the stage, joining the actors, demanding lead roles.  Boundaries are blurring.  Every role is vacant (Ridderstrale and Nordstrom, 2000: 41).


In other words, now that the traditional institution no longer wholeheartedly shapes who we are, we can learn to shape ourselves.  If the traditional family structure no longer exists as an institution then we can turn family into whatever we wish it to be.  We can also take on roles as we see fit. However, for many, the fact that family is such a fluid institution these days makes us feel increasingly as if we are not succeeding to fulfil the traditional notion of family we all find ourselves nostalgically drawn to.  Some of us find ourselves trying to be all these different people, mother, sister, career woman, pregnant woman, wife, friend, and feel we are failing dismally.  Smail does not believe there is anyone who has not experienced some kind of ‘acute psychological pain over his or her feelings of inadequacy in relation to others, anxiety about his or her performance of socially expected functions and tasks, depression or despair at some kind of failure or loss (Smail, 1997: 13).  As I shall expose in the section on anxiety, Smail believes it is our trust in traditional institutions such as the family, which help to reinforce this sense of failure. Failure may also stem from newer institutions, such as the television, which mediate an ideal family life for us to aspire to.


The Television as an Institution.
The television is one institution that is stronger and more popular than ever.  It disseminates values and norms to its audience of standards of how to live their lives and people pay attention to this medium more than ever before, if they care to admit it or not.  In the early days of the television the audience may have dismissed adverts as naïve and transparent, but today, although we think we take them with a pinch of salt, adverts confront us almost remorselessly with the ideals we cannot live up to i.e. the happy, loving family eating their cornflakes against views of waving wheat fields, eagerly waiting for the joys of the day to unfold; slim, beautiful women whose smooth and unblemished limbs slide effortlessly into blue denim skins, later to catch the strong and approving gaze of confident young men who will cherish them with just the right amount of lust (Smail, 1997: 5).  Therefore, if we like it or not, as traditional institutions shift and change and become untrustworthy as ways of understanding our own existence, we tend to find ourselves looking to the television for answers.   Furthermore, Ridderstrale and Nordstrom argue that people can cope with the uncertain world they find themselves in by switching on the television because it makes them feel as if things could be a lot worse and that their life in comparison is pretty rosy.


While a minority cope with uncertainty by disappearing into the distance muttering mantras and following their leader, others switch on the T.V.  TV convinces you that things could be worse.  This, sadly, explains the rise of freak show TV as exemplified by the Jerry Springer Show.  The show succeeds because it makes viewers feel normal.  We watch TV to figure out ourselves, to be reassured that we’re better off, mentally, physically or financially, than the freaks on display (Ridderstrale and Nordstrom, 2000: 71).


Television, as all mass media, also has the ability to emphasise and reinforce social norms, for example gender norms, showing people the typical and expected ways for men and women to behave.  For example, advertising encourages conformist behaviour, which reinforces the gender role stereotypes of men and women (Browne, 1992: 156), as the adverts described above exemplify.  However, television can also blur the boundaries between gender norms.  For example, television has certainly contributed to the widespread acceptance (on the whole) of lesbian, gay and bisexual relationships.  Such subjectivities were largely unspoken of say fifty years ago.   On the other hand, television can distort subjective realities in order to make a program more interesting and entertaining.  Referring to the televisions ability to transmit reality, Evans contends ‘it manipulates it, it dramatises it and increasingly it adrenalises it (Evans, 2001: 37).  Television can mediate and support heterosexual relations as normal behaviour by portraying homosexual or bisexual behaviour as abnormal, for example.  When this happens, television oppresses the subjectivities of these people, making them seem abnormal, and supporting western society's traditional and religious view of homosexuality as wrong.  This may result in people feeling as if they should keep their gender identity under wraps and perform the conformist heterosexual identity in a bid to feel normal.  Such associations to identity can still, even today, cause upset and annihilation for those that are portrayed as abnormal in the media. These examples show how subjective realities can sometimes become lost in the objective culture that encompasses us.  Only today, as I write this thesis, there is a programme on called “One Life – Make Me a Man Again!” 


After the failure of his business and departure of his wife and children, Sam Hashimi took the drastic decision to undergo surgery to become a woman.  It was only later that the ex-millionaire realised he had made a terrible mistake.  As he prepares for the final stage of a sex-change reversal, Hashimi wonders if he will be accepted as a fully fledged male.

(Radio Times, 23rd October 2004: 92).


In this instance, it could be argued that the break down of traditional institutions and the presence of instatic institutions, opens up a whole variety of choices to people that were once unthinkable.  With the advance of technology today people have access to so many choices.  Knowing which decision to make can often be confusing for people.  For some, gender crises can be rectified by surgery but for others it can cause even further upset, confirming the view that today we have too many choices at our disposal, choices which can completely change how we see ourselves and how others see us.  Television, is one way in which we can find out about the choices we have available to us.  It can mediate gender identity in all kinds of ways, as exemplified above by Mr Hashimi, it can reinforce it, as well as create and oppress subjective realities and identities.  Evans sees television as merely a means of getting people to watch commercials (2001: 37).  Commercials are one element needed for another institution to thrive, the institution of consumption. 


Consumption as an Institution.

Some writers do not see consumption as an institute but a process, which can be effected by social institutions (i.e. Bocock, 1995: 93).  However, like Baudrillard, (1998) I believe consumption is an institution because the consumer is effected by norms and values created by consumption.  The consumer obeys the system and its codes, but also is liberated by the institution as they experience a wider sense of freedom, aspiration, choice and creativity than the more traditional institution could provide.  For example, consumption succeeds by selling us needs and desires in the form of a whole variety of lifestyle choices, which we can choose and discard at our leisure.


For style of life involves not merely the external forms of behaviour, but the values implicit in that behaviour, and one cannot change one’s lifestyle without working some change in one’s self-image.  The people of the future are not ‘style conscious’ but ‘lifestyle conscious.

                                                                                                (Toffler, 1970: 285)


Women have been seen by social scientists, for example, by Bowlby (1987), as being especially involved in consumption (Bocock, 1995, 95), though I doubt today this is the case.  This has been one way in which women have broken free from their apron strings as they find power in constructing their identities outside of domesticity, in the signs and symbols consumer society has to offer.  For example, Bocock says that consumer goods have become a crucial area for the construction of meanings, identities, gender roles, in postmodern capitalism (1995: 96).  However, we must question here, whether consumer items can truly make up your identity.  Does looking like a woman, using symbols and signs connected to being a woman, i.e. a hand bag, for example, really make you a woman?  If we take Baudrillard's view on consumption then gender becomes “real” through the consumer signs and symbols society relates to that gender.  Baudrillard (1998) argues that consumption creates a reality.  He recognises that as the boundaries between representation and reality implode, the real disappears and instead signs and codes then constitute the ‘real’. The individual is consequently caught up in a world of commodity signs, media spectacles, representations and simulations (Sarup, 1996: 111) and finds it increasingly difficult to establish reality.   Therefore, Baudrillard, like Butler and her sense of performativity, would suggest that the reality of gender and its norms become the signs and symbols consumption provides.  However, due to the acceleration of change, and genders increasingly fluid form, normal affiliations to gender become blurred, as gender, it seems becomes harder to grasp.   Gender as an identity and as a norm becomes so much more uncertain.  Gender is only one aspect of our identity, which is becoming fluid and I believe it is such a fluid identity which is contributing to us feeling mental.  I now wish to look at uncertainty in relation to anxiety and future shock, which will emphasise this point.  I will then go on to explain the actual structure of mentalism.

A Culture of Uncertainty

In a culture where choices are rife, uncertainty is inevitable.  Living in such chaotic times can certainly create unrest for many individuals.  Generally human beings do not cope very well with uncertainty, probably because they never really encountered it in the past which my brief exploration into traditional institutions exemplified.  People are used to having their identities constructed for them.  They are used to being told who they are meant to be and how they are meant to act and think.  But this is no more. Instead, people today have to make their own decisions on who they want to be and this can cause immense uncertainty which, for many, can even mean the difference between feeling normal or mental.  Anxiety is seen to be a common ailment of the postmodern era, which could be seen as contributing to the sense of feeling mental, I wish to expose.


Giddens (1991: 35 – 69) sees anxiety as free-floating and as ‘essentially fear which has lost its object through unconsciously formed emotive tensions that express internal dangers rather than externalised threats’ (Giddens, 1991: 44).  As I mentioned briefly above, Giddens believes we place trust in institutions or what he terms “abstract systems”, in order for us to rekindle the sense of ontological security we experienced as babies.  As traditional institutions become increasingly questioned and the knowledge they produce becomes uncertain, people become anxious.  The taken-for-granted assumptions of time, space, continuity and identity now affect even the ordinariness of everyday conventions, leaving the individual with ‘the prospect of being overwhelmed by anxieties that reach to the very roots of our coherent sense of ‘being in the world’’ (Giddens, 1991: 37).


In contrast, Smail believes the postmodern individual still very much relies on the discourses transmitted by institutions and that this is what causes anxiety.  He sees the identity of the postmodern individual still being shaped by institutions and its modern objective discourses.  He says depending on institutions, which embrace objectivity, is harmful to the individual’s subjectivity.  The objectivity culture cons us into thinking the objective is the truth and that our own subjective and ethical judgements should be rejected as untrustworthy.


Much of our waking life is spent in a desperate struggle to persuade others that we are not what we fear ourselves to be, or what they may discover us to be if they see through our pretences.  Most people, most of the time, have a profound and unhappy awareness of the contrast between what they are and what they ought to be.  Even at a relatively superficial (but extremely pervasive) level, for example, many people feel weak and silly when they ought to be strong and confident, ugly and insignificant when they should be attractive and striking.  As a consequence of this we spend enormous amounts of time and energy in guarding against others’ getting a glimpse of our ‘true’, shameful selves by constructing what we feel will be acceptable public versions of ourselves, but which we know to be a hollow sham (unless, that is, we come after a while to believe in our own posturing, fall for our own ‘image’).

(Smail, 1997: 4)


It is this constant struggle to feel and live up to what people believe is normal that Smail believes creates anxiety. Smail says institutions produce objective discourses he describes as cultural myths to control us and he believes normality is one way in which this can be achieved.  He argues that normality is in actual fact a cultural myth that none of us can truly live up to (See Smail, 1997: 1 - 16) and that we will only be content if we accept that we are all abnormal.  He says there are two types of human experience, subjective and objective.  Objective experience means embracing the culture that surrounds us.  We use its materials, its discourses and the language to describe our experiences.  In this way there are no experiences outside of language, all our experiences must fit into the words that we have at our disposal.  On the other hand, our subjective experience comes from within.  We have a variety of ways of interpreting the world that cannot necessarily be put into words, therefore, we use language to describe these experiences but we can also accept the reality of experiences we cannot define in a lingual form. Today, especially within identity politics, the topic of subjectivity is a popular one, because it allows us to include both ‘conscious aspects of private experience – reflection upon experiences, memories, etc. – and also the unconscious and its effects.  This broad term allows us to speak of private experience, emotionality and affect’ (Sarup, 2002: 52). Smail though is still not convinced that subjectivity is embraced as it should be in western culture.  He says that our culture still conditions us into suppressing our subjective experiences and embracing our objective ones.  He says it is this that can make us anxious.  I think Smail must be careful to make such a distinction between the two as they can often be inter-linked.  However for the sake of clarity I explain them here as two separate experiences.


Therefore, it seems traditional institutions still assist in the construction of our identities as they still have some kind of role in portraying a sense of normality that we all aspire to.  However I contend that at the same time, the acceleration of change is causing institutions to become fluid, which in turn is also breaking down this myth of normality.  It then becomes harder for us to interpret the normal ways to live outside of those ideals portrayed in the media and consumption, as a whole.  We find it harder to understand the world around us and within us.  It is the important factor of the acceleration of change which I believe causes the feeling of mentalism to occur.  Therefore, I need to now look at the disease resulting from the acceleration of change, a disease Alvin Toffler has coined “Future Shock” which will then help me to illustrate how mentalism transpires.

Future Shock

Caught in the turbulent flow of change, called upon to make significant, rapid-fire life decisions, he feels not simply intellectual bewilderment, but disorientation at the level of personal values.  As the pace of change quickens, this confusion is tinged with self-doubt, anxiety and fear.  He grows tense, tires easily.  He may fall ill.  As the pressures relentlessly mount, tension shades into irritability, anger, and sometimes, senseless violence.  Little events trigger enormous responses, large events bring inadequate responses (Toffler, 1970: 330).


Toffler above describes how the uncertain culture we find ourselves in today causes a disease called        future shock.  This disease appears as a reaction to the acceleration of change and the immense informational overload most people now experience in contemporary society.   Toffler draws on evidence collected from psychological studies to suggest that humans failing to adapt to change may react in one of two ways, neural or hormonal.  The neural derives from something called orientation response (or OR) which occurs when new stimuli cause the body and the brain to react in a certain way.  Research psychologist, Ardie Lubin explains ‘ if you overload an environment with novelty, you get the equivalent of anxiety neurotics – people who have their systems continually flooded with adrenalin, continual heart pumping, cold hands, increased muscle tone and tremors – all the usual OR characteristics (Toffler, 1970: 305).  Similarly to the OR, the hormonal equivalent called the adaptative reaction occurs when we experience a situation that requires a complex set of physical and psychological reactions for a longer period of time.  Toffler takes the example of when the boss is breathing down your neck every day, your child is seriously ill and you are waiting to clench a big business deal.  Such situations cause the adaptative reaction to occur where hormones are shot into the bloodstream to speed up body metabolism, raise blood pressure and to tap into the body’s energy reserve tank, which helps sustain the reaction.  This adaptative reaction is more commonly known as “stress”.  Toffler predicts that the acceleration of change causes both the neural and the hormonal reaction to take place on a more regular basis, which he believes, is dangerous to the health of all individuals.


There are, however, limits on adaptability.  When we alter our lifestyle, when we make and break relationships with things, places and people, when we move restlessly through the organisational geography of society, when we learn new information and ideas, we adapt; we live.  Yet there are finite boundaries; we are not infinitely resilient.  Each orientation response, each adaptative reaction exacts a price, wearing down the body’s machinery bit by bit, until the perceptible damage results.  Thus man remains in the end what he started as in the beginning: a biosystem with a limited capacity for change.  When this capacity is overwhelmed, the consequence is future shock.

(Toffler, 1970: 311)


I see Toffler’s work, however as having a number of flaws.  Firstly, his term future shock seems unconvincing as I find it difficult to understand how a person suffers from the shock of the future when his argument of neural and hormonal reactions obviously happens in the accelerated present.  Secondly, Toffler seems to overdramatise humans’ inability to cope with accelerated change.  He is solely negative about the phenomenon and I believe the human race is more resilient than Toffler anticipates.  Thirdly, quite contradictingly, he suggests the individual should look at new ways of perceiving the world but fails to explain how.  I have included the disease of future shock in this thesis as I think it exemplifies the main conditions of mentalism in that it also results from a failure by the individual to adapt to change and fit into the world they find themselves in.  I shall explain this further within the context of duration, though for now I wish to set out the main structure of mentalism.
The Structure of Mentalism

In “Creative Evolution” Henri Bergon (1964) wrote of three types of human knowledge, one of them being intuition and the other two being intellect and instinct. Bergson's work is useful, as is Smail's above, in helping me to explain my theory of mentalism as they both explain how western culture focuses on objective and intellectual categories and neglect subjective and intuitive experiences that lie outside of language.  I have so far focused on how institutions and social norms and values are changing.  As I shall explain, it is these intellectual forms, which Bergson says limits the experience of the individual.  In addition, I contend that coupled with the acceleration of change, intellectual moulds become fluid and this is when mentalism occurs.

Henri Bergson uses a piece of art as a metaphor for reality.  He suggests that individuals can interpret it in two different ways, by using their intellect or their intuition (on this occasion I fail to mention the knowledge of instinct as I feel it has no direct bearing on the introduction to mentalism as a theory though it could be tackled at a later date).  If they study the art intellectually they will use symbols to describe how the piece of art makes them feel.  But if they use their intuition they will reject all symbols and embrace the feeling, which the art internally creates. For Bergson, using your intuition to perceive the world and its reality (the piece of art) is a superior form of perception to intellectually understanding it.


Intuition may enable us to grasp what it is that intelligence fails to give us, and indicate the means of supplementing it.  On the one hand, it will utilise the mechanism of intelligence itself to show how intellectual moulds cease to be strictly applicable; and on the other hand, by its own work, it will suggest to us the vague feeling, if nothing more, of what must take the place of intellectual moulds.  Thus, intuition may bring the intellect to recognise that life does not quite go into the category of the many nor yet into that of the one; that neither mechanical causality nor finality can give a sufficient interpretation of the vital process…endlessly continued creation (Bergson, 1964: 177).

Above, Bergson makes an important statement that individuals’ experiences do not always fit into intellectual moulds, or in other words, into the objective cultural categories we have at our disposal.  Language, therefore, can be a barrier to how we experience life.  For example, we have all felt at times as if the words we use to describe an experience do not do it justice.  For instance, when we tell someone we love them, it never feels as if the person receiving the words can get a full picture of how we truly feel inside.  So, as Bergson intimates, it is sometimes impossible to place human feelings (intuition) into categories (intellect), as they just will not fit. Smail agrees that much of our subjective experience is outside of language and we can tap into it using what he terms “intuitive sensitivity” (1997: 34).


The world to which our intuitive sensitivity gives us access is the intricate and finely balanced subjective world in which we conduct our relations with each other, register and react to the impressions we give and receive, administer and respond to offers of love or threats of annihilation.  Because of the enormous delicacy involved in our dealings with each other in these respects, and because of the extreme dangers inherent in them, we do not normally comment upon what we are up to: language it seems is far too crude to be allowed.

                                                                                                (Smail, 1997: 34)


I would now like to explain how I believe the contemporary acceleration of change is causing intellectual moulds to break down, making it increasingly difficult for us as human beings to understand, feel and express the world around us. I will explain how the acceleration of change means subjective experience no longer fits into the objective moulds institutions produce, as these moulds and institutions become increasingly fluid.  I believe it is the conflict between intuition and intellect that creates the feeling of mentalism.


Acceleration of change = Duration

For the speed up of change is a psychological force…Although it has been almost totally ignored by psychology, the rising rate of change in the world around us disturbs our inner equilibrium, altering the very way in which we experience life.  Acceleration without translates into acceleration within.

(Toffler, 1970: 39).


According to Toffler, the acceleration of change can have psychological repercussions for us as individuals living in contemporary society causing us to experience a disease called “Future Shock”, which I mentioned above.  In particular it is the speed up of our experiences as individuals that may be contributing to us feeling mental.  The speed, or what both Bergson and Toffler coin the duration of change, I think can have a significant effect on a person’s mentality, which I shall now explain through the exploration of both writers theory of duration. 

Toffler – Acceleration within = Acceleration Without

Toffler maintains that our lives are made up of experiences and we manage our experiences by breaking them up into situations, which flow in a linear fashion.  As the acceleration of change increases the situations become more frequent, non-linear and shortened.  He sees situations as having five components.  ‘These include ‘things’ – a physical setting of natural or man made objects.  Every situation occurs in a ‘place’ – a location or arena within which the action occurs…Every social situation also has, by definition, a cast of characters – people.  Situations also involve a location in the organisational network of society and a context of ideas or information…Any situation can be analysed through these five components (Toffler, 1970: 39). The time span of a situation, its duration, is constantly overlooked, though it can have the most effect on a situation.  Toffler uses the example of a piece of music played at a funeral.    If the music is played faster, the whole meaning of the piece of music changes, the music seems happier and wholly inappropriate for the morbid situation.  Toffler says that the acceleration of change is causing the duration of situations to become shorter and at the same time the amount of situations’ increase.  Therefore, whereas, in the past the individual would concentrate on one situation at a time, for example one role or one choice at a time, they are now expected to deal with multiple situations simultaneously.  As a consequence, their attention may shift to and fro, from one situation to another and back again, which ultimately makes their experience of life very complicated and stressful.

This process can be seen in the way we form our identities today.  For example, Kenneth Gergen believes we use the qualities found in our relationships to shape our identities.  He warns that ‘through the technologies of the century, the number and variety of relationships in which we are engaged, potential frequency of contact, expressed intensity of relationship, and endurance through time, all are steadily increasing.  As this increase becomes extreme we reach a state of social saturation’ (Gergen, 1991: 70).  Social saturation causes the postmodern individual to feel or sense what Gergen describes as “multiphrenia”: the splitting of the individual into a multiplicity of self-investments’ (1991: 73- 4).  Here, ‘one bears the burden of an increasing array of oughts, self doubts and irrationalities’ (Ibid, 1991: 80).  Though Gergen does not see this as a mental illness he realises it has similar tendencies and could lead to psychological problems.  Therefore, the individual experiencing multiphrenia and those around him or her could well feel mental at times.  They will probably believe that they should be able to cope with these varying roles and responsibilities and the identities these create.  As they compare their life to others who seem so normal, they may probably feel as if others seem to be coping with the same roles and responsibilities more successfully than themselves.  As the acceleration of change increases these roles may become an unbearable burden.  Therefore, in this way, Toffler's idea of duration and its effect on a situation may contribute to people feeling mental.


Bergsonian Time = time * time


In comparison to Toffler, Bergson sees duration as becoming (1964: 318- 319).  To him each thing has it own time or duration and it is the tension between our time and a separate thing’s time that gives us a sense of a larger objective Time.  Bergson explains this through the metaphor of sugar mixed with water.


If I want to mix a glass of sugar and water, I must, willy nilly, wait until the sugar melts…  Here the time I have to wait is not that mathematical time which would apply equally well to the entire history of the material world, even if that history were spread out instantaneously in space.  It coincides with my impatience, that is to say, with a certain portion of my own duration, which I cannot protract or contract as I like.  It is no longer something thought, it is something lived.  It is no longer a relation, it is an absolute.


In other words, duration is the time of an individual thing and Time is the background rhythm against which durations are noticed.  Both Time and time never happen the same way twice. Bergsonian Time is a background rhythm set off by the tension between one person’s duration and the conflicting duration of some other thing.  Time may seem to repeat, but it never does—at least not exactly (


I will use Bergson's example of sugar and water to explain the becoming of mentalism.  I substitute Bergson’s impatience for the individual’s subjective reality.  The sugar is intellect (i.e. institutions and their norms) and the mathematical Time is the acceleration of change.  The individual’s duration of their subjective reality (intuition) clashes against the duration of the institutions they rely upon to construct their identity (intellect), which is now in a constant state of dissolving.  The tension between these two durations gives us a sense of the acceleration of change. Because intellect continues to dissolve, but never fully dissolves (i.e. traditional institutions and their norms break down though remain present but fragmented), and the individual has no control over the intellect dissolving (as technology advances the increase in knowledge causes intellect to constantly be questioned), society witnesses a sense of the acceleration of change.  Mentalism evolves from the individual increasingly trying to relate intuition to the constantly changing intellect.  Furthermore, it is this sense of the acceleration of change that causes the individual to realise s/he has less time to restructure that feeling into existing intellectual moulds before the next situation occurs.


If I compare both Bergson and Toffler’s concept of duration through the feeling of mentalism I discover Bergson is more optimistic of the human’s ability to survive in a culture accelerated in change.  Toffler states duration is the time span of a situation.  Change and an individual’s experience are both situations.  Therefore, if change accelerates, Toffler says the individual’s experience should accelerate also and failing to do so may cause future shock.  Mentalism, in these terms, is having an alternative duration to society, which causes the individual to find a flux of experiences daunting.  In contrast, Bergson takes duration as being the individual’s time clashing against another time, which illuminates the background Time.  In other words, Bergson’s concept of duration opposes Toffler’s because it suggests that individual time effects Time, not vice versa.  The individual’s time affects the background Time through its interaction with the time of other things.  Therefore, I propose mentalism has occurred through humans’ interaction with technology and this in turn effects its institutions and social norms and values.  Institutions as sugar dissolve quicker than humans can comprehend.  Institutions never fully dissolve but evolve, recreate and reform themselves, innovating and restructuring the whole way a human perceives his or her reality.  Hence, using the example of the family as an institution, it does not fully break down; instead it evolves into new forms of family structures with new norms and values attached to it.  However, people still find themselves trying to live up to previous norms and values associated to the traditional family structure, which is still present, i.e the nuclear family form.  The subjective reality can be quite different, single mums and dads, divorce, separation, adoption and fostering are all different ways that people choose to live their lives today.  However, they still have an underlying feeling that they are failing to live up to the standards required to be what they perceive as a “normal” family.  The same can be said of gender.  Traditional gender roles and norms still exist today and people may find it increasingly difficult to live up to such ideals of being a man or a woman, a boy or a girl.  In a more positive light than Toffler, perhaps Bergson, if he were around today, would suggest that the contemporary human being has the ability and choice to create their own reality through the institutions they engage in and ultimately this means they may also have the ability to somehow control it.  For this reason, I recommend that humans need to take control of their experiences and validate them and move on beyond the objective world we find ourselves in that creates this sense of normality.  We need to ditch those traditional views and norms and embrace our subjective experiences.  This way there is hope for humans to survive in this accelerated culture, never mind what Toffler may say.  I would now like to look at how combating this feeling of mentalism can be both beneficial to the individual as well as to society. 


Being Different and Creative People


The idea of combating mental demons and living a more liberated and creative existence is of course not a new concept. According to Sangharakshita, who has written extensively on the subject of Buddhism and mental suffering, we have two options when dealing with mental suffering.


When we are in a state of intense suffering, especially mental suffering, the next step for us is to simply gain some respite from that suffering: we need to gain some sort of ease, or relaxation.  For many people that is the best they can do in the circumstances; very often, when people are in a state of intense mental suffering, the only thing they can think of is respite from it…[on the other hand] when we are in a state of immense suffering, the next step is to gain nirvana.  It is as though there is nothing left for us to do about our suffering except go, as it were, straight to nirvana.  There is no other hope for us: all worldly hope has foundered.  It is as though there is an affinity even between intense mental suffering and susceptibility to higher spiritual attainment.

(Sangharakshita, 1997: 78 / 9)

Therefore, as Sangharakshita says, though engrossed in a culture of mental suffering, there is hope for us all to live a life free from mental turmoil and as a result experience an existence of psychological fulfillment. Of course, I am not naively intimating that all those experiencing mental suffering can combat it and live better lives but that those that feel they do not fit into this world and feel mental as a result should realise there is respite from this.  Though an old fashioned stance, I believe this can be done by readjusting your perception of yourself and your environment, by looking within and accepting who you are and avoiding the normalisation of your self, as this is the western individual’s biggest mistake.  Everyone is different and so this should be embraced. 

Ideally, I need to devote a paper solely to how you might discover your personal and individual difference, uniqueness and creativity.  Here, I will merely propose that you take more notice of gut feelings, dreams, and your conscience and really try and think about your own feelings and opinions outside of those you believe you ought to have.  Of course, I find myself sounding like a self-help book and that is far from my intention.  I do not wish to explain in any detail how anyone might find out how they are different, as this will vary from person to person.  Instead I wish the reader to understand that a healthy and balanced identity can not merely be obtained from the outside, material world.  The inner world must also be acknowledged and listened to.

Listening to Your Inner Self ( Intuition).

I early arrived at the insight that when no answer comes from within to the problems and complexities of life, they ultimately mean very little.  Outward circumstances are no substitute for inner experience.  Therefore my life has been singularly poor in outward happenings.  I cannot tell much about them, for it would strike me as hollow and insubstantial.  I can understand myself only in the light of inner happenings.  It is these that make up the singularity of my life.

(Jung, 1995: 19)

Carl Gustav Jung is just one of many people who has contributed largely to western society, realizing new and exciting ground breaking ideas through his engagement with the inner self, the unconscious and the feelings that he could not explain using language. As a result Jung discovered a whole variety of theories and today we use his words as part of our daily lives.  For instance, he invented words such as “introvert”, “extrovert” and “archetype”, all words, which are commonly used in the English language today.   Feeling different and thinking differently to others proved useful for Jung.  He was able to tap into his unconscious, taking notice of dreams, slips of the tongue, and generally listening to his gut instincts and intuition for advice.  His ability to think outside the box gave him the opportunity to create unique ideas and theories (See his autobiography entitled “Memories, Dreams and Reflections”, 1995). Many geniuses, like Jung, have suggested that suffering with mental distress has contributed to a more creative and unique perspective.    Einstein was another genius thought to have taken notice of his inner feelings and images.   His theory of Relativity was thought to have come to him in a dream. The famous painter Vincent Van Gogh was thought to have spent time as a patient in a mental institute for a year and whilst there painted some of his most famous pieces.  In all three cases these men valued the information their inner and unconscious world mediated to their conscious mind, which then resulted in new theories and artwork being discovered. 


I see mental suffering as the collision between the conscious and unconscious mind. When we feel mental I believe we find ourselves more in tune with our unconscious mind than our conscious one.  This means that we can think in ways that we might not normally as a human restricted to the conscious, objective world.  However, I do acknowledge that there are those people that are wholly absorbed by their unconscious and inner world and find difficulty engaging with the outside world around them. For those people creativity may exist but it may be harder to express.  In order to combat mentalism and other types of mental suffering I contend that you can find a balance between the two and this is where I believe our creativity truly lies, in the land between our inner and outer world.  In order to achieve this balance people in the western world need to embrace their subjectivity and their unconscious, though I must stress this can be harmful to someone already very wrapped up in their unconscious realm, for example those suffering from certain types of shizophrenia. However, for others this can be an important venture, especially in this day and age, when creativity can be seen as being valued more than ever before.


The knowledge explosion is transforming the nature of society, and this is nowhere more clear than in the economy.  Change is the watch word of the day, and innovative response to shifting conditions is the limits of business success…What kind of people will society need in order to meet the Post Industrial challenge?  The answer is people with creative minds and complex selves.

(Mulgan, 1999)


Today, it seems that society no longer requires the individual to use established symbols to solve problems but instead creativity is what counts.  The Creativity Era, as Mulgan (1999) coins it, demands an individual with a mind which is able to construct new ideas and to establish new rules and symbols or to use old symbols in new ways.  It seems using your intuition and moving beyond those existing symbols and ideas based in the world around us, as Bergson suggests above, means embracing a whole variety of traits that are valuable today.  For instance, being in touch with your intuition can make a person seem more creative, subjective and different. Ridderstrale and Nordstrom believe to survive and succeed in this world you need to possess such traits.  


To succeed, we must stop being so god damn normal.  If we behave like others, we will see the same things, come up with similar ideas, and develop identical products and services.  At its best, normal output will produce normal results.  In a winner takes all world normal equals nothing.  But, if we are willing to take one little risk, break one tiny rule, disregard a few of the norms, there is at least a theoretical chance that we will come up with something different, actually get a niche, create a short-term monopoly and make a little money.

(2000: 244)

But for me, embracing your difference is more than making money as Ridderstrale and Nordstrom suggest.  It is about functioning in the world more easily.  It is about accepting we are all different and feeling part of a diverse society. Sarup remarks that ‘it is often said that a positive feature of postmodernist thinkers is that they want to stress diversity.  They have drawn attention to difference’ (2002: 61).  Laclau and Mouffe say that contemporary societies are characterised by difference: they are cut through by different social divisions and antagonism which produce a variety of different identities or ‘subject positions’.  Under certain circumstances, the different elements can be articulated together.  But this articulation is always partial, and the structure of identity remains open’ (Sarup, 2002: 56). Toffler warns difference can be destructive.  He says ‘if each person, busily doing his thing, were to be wholly different from every other, no two humans would have any basis for communication (1970: 292). Over dramatics seems to be the theme of Toffler’s work and so I find this highly unlikely.  With all the different roles and interests and lifestyles, as well as the increase in forms of communication, it seems doubtful we shall run out of things to say to one another. 


If we all accept our difference and stop trying to mould who we are into mythical “normal” categories, I think we shall become people who are more satisfied with life and more successful.  If we acknowledge our intuition, our dreams, and generally take more notice of our inner world, perhaps we will not experience the constant conflict of intellectual and intuitional worlds which can result in feeling mental, as I hope I have exemplified.  However, as long as institutions exist, normality will to some extent, as this is the way that common norms and values keep us together as one town, one nation, and one world.  Normality, in its varying forms is a global process but it is also a process which is breaking down.  I do not believe normality should cease to exist as people would have no common ground to work from, however, subjectively exploring your world enables you to be who you want to be at the same time as feeling you fit into a world that embraces your diversity and creativity.


To summarise, mentalism is the feeling of not fitting into what the individual believes is the norm.  This occurs because the individual has two ways of interpreting the world.  Firstly, they can understand their experience and feelings intellectually using the cultural representations and symbols they are exposed to through, among other things, those cultural and social institutions which ultimately produce the norms and values of society and hence the myth of normality.  The individual uses their intellect but is also drawn to their intuition, which they consider as a different way of understanding their feelings.  In this way, the individual compares their intuition to society’s intellectual norms.  Thirdly, and at which stage mentalism actually occurs, the acceleration of change causes intellect to become fluid.  This causes the individual to question intellect (institutions and their norms and values, for example), which in turn pushes them towards their sense of intuition on a more regular basis.  The individual battles between the two, comparing what they think they should feel (intellect) to what they do feel (intuition).


Therefore, combating mentalism is being allowed to admit you are not normal, that no one is really normal.  I have hopefully shown the reader that there is no point trying to fit your life into convenient moulds that language provides for us because they just will not fit. Embrace the reality that all our lives are different subjective experiences that cannot be placed into objective categories.   It is just the action of constantly struggling to fit our experiences into the language and the categories and labels we have at our disposal that makes us feel mental.  As the world around us changes faster than ever before, we need to embrace who we are.  We need to have a good sense of a self, however much it might change and develop.  We need to acknowledge language but also other avenues of experiencing life, such as our intuition.  We need to find out who we truly want to be, outside of the global consumer market we find ourselves in.  What are our true vocations?  What are our true skills and personal qualities? (I use the word true here in the context of what feels right and comfortable, perhaps, for each individual).  It is only when these questions are honestly answered and the material world is embraced as merely a false consciousness that we all can accept our difference and be happy with it.  We can admit we’re not exactly what society values but we are what we value ourselves and what our friends and family value us to be.  This is the true sense of existence as I see it.  Normality is an ideal, a social value and a dream that very few of us can ever hope of achieving.  As long as we suppress our diversity as individuals all we can hope for, instead, is a feeling that we do not fit into the valued way of existing in this world, mental illness will continue to increase and mental labels will continue to discriminate and isolate.  Toffler’s wrong.  We can survive in a world accelerated in change; it does not mean frantically changing with it but accepting we do not have to.  The answer to identity is within us if we can somehow hear it amongst the distorted voices of the outside world. 


Before I finish I would like the reader to realise that this dissertation can only ever be a brief insight into one new feeling that the postmodern era is helping us to create.  There may be many feelings we ourselves are not even aware of yet.  I believe the feeling of mentalism deserves to be discussed in greater detail at a later date as I feel I have only just started to uncover the key factors of why some of us feel this way.  In the future perhaps I may take a more empirical look at the feeling, exploring peoples’ feelings and the correlation to culture much more in depth.  However for now I wish to leave you with some fitting lyrics to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers song which supports my view of embracing your intuition and releasing the grasp of intellect, portrayed here through the metaphor of the television:


Throw away your television

Time to make this clean decision

Master waits for its collision now

It’s a repeat of a story told

It’s a repeat and it’s getting old


Throw away your television

Make a break big intermission

Recreate your super vision now

It’s a repeat of a story told

It’s a repeat and it’s getting old


Renegades with fancy gauges

Slay the plague for it’s contagious

Pull the plug and take the stages

Throw away your television now


Throw away your television

Take the mousse of your ambition

Reinvent your intuition now

It’s a repeat of a story told

It’s a repeat and it’s getting old


Throw away your television

Salivate to repetition

‘leviate this ill condition now

It’s a repeat.


(Red Hot Chilli Peppers, 2002)






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2.      Althusser, L, (1971) Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (Trans. Ben Brewster).  London: NLB.  P121 – 76.

3.      Bergson, H, (1964) Creative Evolution. New York: Macmillan.  P177, 318 - 19

4.      Baudrillard, J, (1998) The Consumer Society.  Myths and Structures.  Sage.

5.      Bocock, R, (1995) Key Ideas.  Consumption.  New York: Routledge.  P93, 95, 96.

6.      Bourdieu, P, (1984) Distinction.  London: Routledge.

7.      Bowlby (1987) in Bocock, R, (1995) Key Ideas.  Consumption.  New York: Routledge.  P95.

8.      Browne, K.  An Introduction to Sociology.  1992. Cambridge: Blackwell.  P156, 210 – 215, 229, 230.

9.      Butler, J.  (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.  New York: Routledge.  P25.

10.  Butler, J.  (1999) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.  New York: Routledge.  P178.

11.  Castells, M, (1996) The Rise of the Network Society.  Blackwell. 

12. Evans, A, (2001) The Virtual Life.  Escapism and Simulation in Our Media World. London: Fusion.  P37.

13.   Fee, D, (2000) Pathology and the Postmodern.  Mental Illness as Discourse and Experience. London: Sage.  P186 - 206.

14.  Foucault, M, (1977) The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. (Trans. Alan Hurley).  New York: Vintage.

15  Foucault, M, (2003) Madness and Civilisation London: Routledge Pviii.

16.  Frykman, J, and Lofgren, O, (1996) in Edensor, T, (2001) Performing Tourism, Staging Tourism.  London: Sage.  P14.

17.  Gergen, K, (1991) The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. New York: Basic Books.  P70 – 80.

18.  Giddens, A, (1991) Modernity and Self Identity.  Polity Press: Cambridge.  P35 - 69.

19.  Goffman (1961), Scheff (1966), Rodsen (1973) in Sarup, M, (1991) Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World.  Edinburgh University Press.

20.  Goffman, E, (1963) Stigma - Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity.  Pelican Books: New Jersey, USA. P15.

21.  Derrida, J, (1978) ‘Cognito and the History of Madness’ in idem Writing and Difference.  Hemel Hempstead: Routledge and Keagan Paul.  P34.

22.  Jung, (1995) Memories, Dreams, Reflections.  London: Fontana Press.  P19, 362

23.  Laing, R, D, Esterson, A, (1986) Sanity, Madness and the Family.  An Investigation into the ‘Forgotton Illness’ – Schizophrenia.  Pelican Books: England.

24.  Mulgan, G, Programming Creativity: Public Policy in an Information Age in Mulder, B, (1999) The Creative City or Redesigning Society in Verwijnen, J, Lehtovouri, P, Creative Cities (1999) University of Art and Design: Helsinki.

25.  Radio Times (2004) 23rd October Gill Hudson, Editor.  P92

26.  Red Hot Chilli Peppers, (2002)  Throw Away Your Television.  By The Way. Warner Brothers Records Inc. Album cover.

27.  Rethink Registered Charity (2003).  Fallacies of Perception and Cognition.  P20.

28.  Ridderstrale, J, Nordstrom, K, (2000) Funky Business. Britain: Bookhouse.  P21, 41, 46, 51, 61, 70, 71, 244.

29  Sangharakshita, (1997) A Guide to the Buddhist Path. Birmingham: Windhorse Publications.  P78 - 9

30.  Saneline Leaflet.  Stoke – on – Trent (2004).

31.  Sarup, M, (1996) Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World.  Edinburgh University Press.  P52, 53, 56, 61, 111.

32.  Sennett, R, (1998) in Wittel, A, (2001) Towards a Network Sociality.  Theory, Culture and Society.  Sage. P63.

33.  Smail, D, (1997) Illusion and Reality.  The Meaning of Anxiety.  Constable: London.  P1 – 16, 34.

34.  Toffler, A, (1970) Future Shock. Macmillan: Oxford. P39, 173, 285, 289 – 90, 292, 305, 311, 326, 330.

35.  Unknown, MIND Mental Health Charity website: 22/2/2005.




1.      Althusser, L, (1971) Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (Trans. Ben Brewster).  London: NLB.

2.      Bergson, H, (1964) Creative Evolution. New York: Macmillan 

3.      Baudrillard, J, (1998) The Consumer Society.  Myths and Structures.  Sage.

4.      Bocock, R, (1995) Key Ideas.  Consumption.  New York: Routledge.

5.      Bourdieu, P, (1984) Distinction.  London: Routledge.

6.      Browne, K.  An Introduction to Sociology.  1992. Cambridge: Blackwell. 

7.      Butler, J.  (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.  New York: Routledge. 

8.      Butler, J.  (1999) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.  New York: Routledge. 

9.      Castells, M, (1996) The Rise of the Network Society.  Blackwell.

10.  Derrida, J, (1978) ‘Cognito and the History of Madness’ in idem Writing and Difference.  Hemel Hempstead: Routledge and Keagan Paul.

11.  Edensor, T, (2001) Performing Tourism, Staging Tourism.  London: Sage.

12.  Evans, A, (2001) The Virtual Life.  Escapism and Simulation in Our Media World.  London: Fusion.

13.  Fee, D, (2000) Pathology and the Postmodern.  Mental Illness as Discourse and Experience. London: Sage.

14.  Foucault, M, (1977) The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. (Trans. Alan Hurley).  New York: Vintage.

15.  Foucault, M, (2003) Madness and Civilisation London: Routledge

16.  Gergen, K, (1991) The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life.  New York: Basic Books.

17.  Giddens, A, (1991) Modernity and Self Identity.  Cambridge: Polity Press.

18.  Goffman, E, (1963) Stigma - Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity.  Pelican Books: New Jersey, USA.

19.  Jung, (1995) Memories, Dreams, Reflections.  London: Fontana Press.

20.  Kaslow, F, (1996) Relational Diagnosis.  Whiley.

38.  Laing, R, D, Esterson, A, (1986) Sanity, Madness and the Family.  An Investigation into the ‘Forgotton Illness’ – Schizophrenia.  Pelican Books: England.

39.  MIND Mental Health Charity website: 22/2/2005.

21.  Radio Times (2004) 23rd October Gill Hudson, Editor.

22.  Red Hot Chilli Peppers, (2002)  Throw Away Your Television.  By The Way. Warner Brothers Records Inc.

23.  Rethink Registered Charity (2003).  Fallacies of Perception and Cognition.

24.  Ridderstrale, J, Nordstrom, K, (2000) Funky Business.  Bookhouse: Britain.

25.  Saneline Leaflet.  Stoke-on-Trent.  (2004).

26.  Sangharakshita, (1997) A Guide to the Buddhist Path. Birmingham: Windhorse Publications.

27.  Sarup, M, (1996) Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World.  Edinburgh University Press.

28.  Smail, D, (1997) Illusion and Reality.  The Meaning of Anxiety.  London: Constable. 

29.  Toffler, A, (1970) Future Shock. Oxford: Macmillan.

30.  Verwijnen, J, Lehtovouri, P, Creative Cities (1999) Helsinki : University of Art and Design.

31.  Wittel, A, (2001) Towards a Network Sociality.  Theory, Culture and Society.  Sage.




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