Our age, it seems, is the age of exhaustion. The prevalence of exhaustion both as an individual experience and as a broader socio-cultural phenomenon – is manifest in the epidemic rise of burnout, depression, and chronic fatigue. It is equally present in a growing disenchantment with capitalism in its current neo-liberal form, in concerns about the psycho-social repercussions of ever-faster information and communication technologies, in a general distrust in grand narratives, and in anxieties about ecological ustainability.
A less mechanistic, but in recent years widely discussed, socio-psychological interpretation of the increase in suffering due to exhaustion concerns the task of self-fulfilment – so often perceived by modern individuals as a personal obligation. Alain Ehrenberg has interpreted the exhaustion experienced by modern subjects as exhaustion of being oneself, as a pathological condition of inadequacy.
Sighard Neckel, Anna Katharina Schaffner and Greta Wagner
Part I Cultural-Historical Perspectives
2. Pre-Modern Exhaustion: On Melancholia and Acedia Anna Katharina Schaffner
3. Neurasthenia and Managerial Disease in Germany and America: Transnational Ties and National Characteristics in the Field of Exhaustion Patrick Kury
Part II Exhaustion Syndromes
4. Exhaustion Syndromes: Concepts and Definitions Johanna M. Doerr and Urs M. Nater
5. Burnout: A Short Socio-Cultural History Wilmar B. Schaufeli
Title: Burnout, Fatigue, Exhaustion
Author: Sighard Neckel, Anna Katharina Schaffner, Greta Wagner