The Burnout Society

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Stanford University Press, Aug 12, 2015 - Philosophy - 72 pages

Our competitive, service-oriented societies are taking a toll on the late-modern individual. Rather than improving life, multitasking, "user-friendly" technology, and the culture of convenience are producing disorders that range from depression to attention deficit disorder to borderline personality disorder. Byung-Chul Han interprets the spreading malaise as an inability to manage negative experiences in an age characterized by excessive positivity and the universal availability of people and goods. Stress and exhaustion are not just personal experiences, but social and historical phenomena as well. Denouncing a world in which every against-the-grain response can lead to further disempowerment, he draws on literature, philosophy, and the social and natural sciences to explore the stakes of sacrificing intermittent intellectual reflection for constant neural connection.

 

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Contents

Neuronal Power
1
Beyond Disciplinary Society
8
Profound Boredom
12
Vita Activa
16
The Pedagogy of Seeing
21
The Bartleby Case
25
The Society of Tiredness
30
Burnout Society
35
Notes
53
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About the author (2015)

Korean-born German philosopher Byung-Chul Han teaches philosophy and cultural studies at Berlin's University of the Arts (UdK). In the past few years, his provocative essays have been translated into numerous languages, and he has become one of the most widely read philosophers in Europe and beyond. His work is presented here in English for the first time.

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