Evolution by natural selection has provided one of the grand narratives of the modern era and a way to build stories about the origin and features of organic life. Biologizing aspects of human behavior and society has been a recurrent theme and, although recognized as having led to abuses like eugenics, it has never disappeared. It exists today in the field of evolutionary psychology and its offshoot, Darwinian psychiatry. This fledgling discipline posits the mind as developing during the long period of hunter-gatherer existence, with some emotional states and behaviors now maladapted to modern society. The texts that employ this mismatch theory to explain phobias and depression contain an unstable mixture of narrative techniques and metaphoric uses of computers, electronic technology, the discourse of economics, of architecture, among others. A frequent technique is to make literal jumps between defense mechanisms of lower-order animals and fearful emotional states in humans. The origins of depression thus become a subject discussed with rhetorical naïveté that interweaves figurative language with sometimes contradictory images. Darwin would not be pleased.
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September 1, 2011
Research Article| September 01 2011
Survival of the Depressed: The Discourse of Darwinian Psychiatry
Scott L. Montgomery
Genre (2011) 44 (3): 381–391.
Scott L. Montgomery; Survival of the Depressed: The Discourse of Darwinian Psychiatry. Genre 1 September 2011; 44 (3): 381–391. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-1407558
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