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ObsessionA History$
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Lennard J. Davis

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226137827

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226137797.001.0001

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Obsession in Our Time

Obsession in Our Time

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Obsession in Our Time
Source:
Obsession
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226137797.003.0001

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

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