Social Constructivist Analysis of Depression as a phenomena.

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Mette Hallstrøm
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
The purpose of this thesis is to explore depression as a phenomenon from within a social
constructivist context. In order to highlight depression from several different angles, the
phenomenon is analysed on three different levels; a political, a social and a critical level. The
analysis on the political level contemplates the different actors behind the official guidelines
on depression, that are made for health professionals. In the analysis on the social level the
articulation of depression is investigated through a discourse analysis. The reason behind this,
is to uncover which discourses are dominant, when it comes down to depression. The
discourse analysis also discloses whether or not the analyzed sources have different views
upon depression’s etiology and the perception of how depression should be treated. The
analysis on the critical level identifies the need for change in the sources, and discusses
whether or not the needs are met in the social practice of depression and/or on a societal
level. This approach relies on using critical theory, theories about normality and deviance and
theories about power and stigma.
The conclusion of the analysis is that, despite a minor dislocation in the field of depression,
the social practice of depression has not been affected to any large extent. The concept of
depression seems to have lost its meaning to a certain degree, and is therefore open to
discursive battles. However, these battles only seem to have a small influence on the current
way of treating depression. This may be due to the subject positions behind the guidelines.
Many of the analyzed sources agree on society's rather large role in the occurrence of
depression in Denmark, but still we don’t seem willing to change our ways on a societal level
in order to prevent this issue. The competitive society, that seem to have taken the place of
our welfare society, may play a certain role in the reluctance to change, with its neoliberal
view of humanity and an almost exclusive focus on efficiency and financial growth.
Publication date2016
ID: 237932500