Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization Conference – 2nd-3rd November, 2018

Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization 2018 seeks to build bridges between Public Health and Social Thought by addressing ‘salutogenesis’ and ‘sense of coherence’. Whereas pathogenesis focuses on the causes of illness, Antonovsky (1979) turns the question around,‘from saving people from drowning downstream to looking upstream to see who or what is pushing them in the river.’ Salutogenesis is interested in the well- springs of health & well-being, and ‘the origins of health are to be found in a sense of coherence.’ Human life is oriented towards something more than biological imperatives of survival and reproduction: human beings lead our lives; we are led by the light of ideals; and human life is life that follows: life that follows causes and callings. These are the sources of coherence & meaningfulness in human life, and ‘striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational source in man’ (Frankl, 1947).

The tacit presence of mortality is a limit horizon that gives form and meaning to life (Blum, 2017). Late Modernity ignores & denies human limits at the cost of anthropological grounds of sustainable life on one hand and transcendental ideals on the other. Lacking resonant relations between grounds and limits our lives and minds become unstrung. The dissonance and cacophony characteristic of our age are symptoms of the early-onset dementia of a fragmenting Civilization.


Alan Blum (York, Toronto),
Sabine Flick (IFS, Frankfurt),
Bengt Lindstrøm (NTNU, Trondheim),
Ivan Perry
Arpad Szakolczai (UCC)
plus others…

For all inquiries regarding this event, please direct them to Kieran Keohane at [email protected]
For more information visit: http://socialpath.simplesite.com/

Abstracts, please, by March 30th 2018, to Kieran Keohane at [email protected]

54 tickets available

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Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization Conference

2nd-3rd November, 2018

North Wing Council Room, Tower Room 1&2

The eighth international conference on The Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization again explores the nature of contemporary malaises, diseases, illnesses and syndromes in their relation to cultural pathologies of the social and bodies politic. Usually these conditions –depression, anxiety, suicide & selfharm, disorders of consumption, stress related illness, to name just a

few are interpreted clinically in terms of individualized symptoms, framed epidemiologically. They are represented and responded to discretely, as though for the most part unrelated to each other; each having their own professional discourses of etiology, diagnostics, therapeutics, as well as their task forces developing public health strategies and interventions. However, these diseases also have a social and cultural profile, one that transcends the particularity of their symptomology and their discrete etiologies. These pathologies are diseases related to disorders of the collective esprit de corps of contemporary society.
The methods and mind-sets of Modernity are fully implicated in the malaises of our times, from existential threats of climate breakdown & species extinction to the insidious and pervasive dissolution of traditions, values, ideals, and holistic mythopoetic consciousness as sources of meaningfulness and models to emulate. The modern Faustian bargain comes at the price of disenchantment, fragmentation, a dearth of good models and loss of sense of coherence that are essential to health, well-being and human flourishing. In The Future Public Health (2011) Hanlon et al say that we are confronted with ‘a yawning gulf between the problems we face and our capacity to think up workable solutions’, a gulf that has recently been dubbed the ‘myth gap’.

Hölderlin’s famous line “where danger is, grows the saving power also” suggests that well-springs of recovery & salutogenesis may lie close to hand, nearby the sources of the pathogenic currents of contemporary civilization, in accordance with an ancient cosmology wherein the river of life and the river Styx, Anna Livia Plurabelle and Proteus, the old man of the sea, all flow into one another in a continuous cycle of eternal recurrence; and the spring of Lethe –forgetfulness, senility, and death is close beside the spring of Mnemosyne, source of the muses’ inspiration, creativity and regeneration.

In this context, we are looking for practices, methodologies & theories that could speak across levels ranging from the moral foundations of economy & society, to transcendent ideas of the good life, to our urgent practical needs for future public health:
Pathogenesis, and salutogenesis;
De-mentia, and presence-of-mind;
Absurdity, and meaningfulness;
Well-being and the Good Life;
Work, precarity, and welfare;
Anxiety, foreboding, and epiphany;
Chaos, and mythopoiesis;
Speech & Language, Art, Music, Occupational, and Logo-therapies
Human flourishing, and fantasies of ‘transhumanism’;
Pneumapathology, pleonexia, and diseases of the spirit;
Schizmogenesis, and holism;
De-symbolization and mutations of subjectivity;
Chronopathologies of acceleration, desynchronization, dysrhythmia;
The ‘myth gap’, and future public health education;
Envy, imitation, and good models;
Resilience and social suffering;
Recovering resonance between grounds and limits;
Social pathologies of the digital age: social media disorders; human implications of an economy & society increasingly steered by automated systems of A.I. algorithms; and the future of social cohesion in a post state-regulated techno-utopian economy;
End-of-life, and the ends of Life;
Beauty, joy, and hopefulness;
Rites of passage towards recovery, and towards after-life;
Care, ‘caras’ and ‘midwives of the soul’;

We invite contributions offering analyses, discussions and perspectives of the overall theme (and related themes) from faculty, students and researchers public health, in social thought, art, and literature; in medicine and the caring professions, health sciences & therapeutic practices that explore, represent and seek to transcend these antinomies, for ‘to find a form that accommodates the mess –that is the task of Art [and Science] now’ (Samuel Beckett).

Abstracts, please, by March 30th 2018, to Kieran Keohane at [email protected]

For more information visit: http://socialpath.simplesite.com/