• Freja Præst Korgaard
3. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
This dissertation entitled “Pathology and Social Media” examines the effects of social media on young minds. In the thesis, I have tried to ascertain whether there is a causal link between the uses of social media and the development of pathological behavior, and whether this pathological behaviour is developed as a direct result of social media or whether social media simply acts as an accelerator for dormant psychological issues. By approaching the problem from three different theoretical standpoints and through extensive casework, I have tried to address these questions. The three cases are the so-called Incels, internet-challenges, and a specific group on Instagram, in which up to seven members have committed suicide. I have aptly dubbed this group ‘the suicide squad’.
Firstly, the thesis presents the psychoanalytic concepts of ‘subject’ and ‘culture’ to determine what constitutes pathological behavior and why it occurs based on the works of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan.
Subsequently, I have conducted an analysis regarding the discourse and language prevalent in the three cases. This was done with the aim of investigating whether the pathological behaviour of teenagers online could be explained through the use of language in each case.
Finally, in the offset, it was my view that recognition must play an important role in why so many young people use social media. Therefore, it seemed obvious to examine the concept of recognition to uncover the existence of pathological behavior among young people as a result of their online activities.
After approaching the problem from these theoretical viewpoints, follows a discussion of the concept of virtuality. It strikes me that many previous studies of online behavior are erroneously based on the assumption that virtuality can be opposed to the concept of ‘reality’. This has led to many wrongful conclusions that conduct in the virtual realm cannot do harm in the ‘real’. This assumption is to be disputed in the fourth chapter.
Based on the presented arguments, it is concluded that while psychological pathologies have always been in existence, the emergence of the social media platforms have functioned as both a catalyst for dormant pathologies and as an accelerant of these. It is further concluded that social media platforms have created a range of new pathologies and in some cases, had the unfortunate effect of normalizing and even inciting pathological behavior.

Keywords: Social media, virtuality, pathology, psychoanalysis, discourse theory, recognition, Instagram, Reddit, Youtube.
Publication date2 Jan 2022
Number of pages63
ID: 457499327