Chapter

Obsession in Our Time

in Obsession

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226137827
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226137797 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226137797.003.0001
Obsession in Our Time

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This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of the concept of obsession. It then sets out the book's purpose, which is to show us how it is that obsession now defines our culture. There was a moment in the Western world when obsession became itself something so problematic that people began to write about it, study it, turn it into a medical problem, and then try to cure it. That defining moment, beginning in the middle of the eighteenth century in England and France, is worth looking at. Before that divide, some people were seen either as eccentrics, or in a more religious mode as “possessed.” After that time, the age of obsession begins as a secular, medical phenomenon. The chapter discusses the clinical definition of obsession, the problem of obsession, biocultural view of obsession, obsession as a modern consciousness, the content of obsessions and compulsive activities, the methodological problem in this book, and obsession viewed through technology.

Keywords: obsessive behavior; culture; obsession; obsessive-compulsive disorder

Chapter.  11409 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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