Feminism and a vital politics of depression and recovery

Simone Fullagar, Wendy O'Brien, Adele Pavlidis

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Bringing together everyday accounts with the insights of new materialist feminism this book asks how women’s negotiation of distress is rendered culturally intelligible as ‘recovery’ from depression. Our focus moves beyond a medical or psychological emphasis on locating problems ‘within’ the self, to examine how gender relations, desire and affect (sadness, loss, anger, joy, pleasure) are entangled with powerful diagnostic cultures and everyday practices that shape transformation. We explore what discourses of recovery ‘do’ in women’s lives and how the imperative to recover ‘normality’ is enacted through assemblages that connect gender relations with more than human worlds.

The book explores how mental health matters in women’s lives with respect to how culture and biology, mind and body, the personal and political materialize around particular ‘knots’ of gendered distress. We flesh out different ways of ‘doing’ recovery and identify the conditions of possibility that enable agentic capacities beyond a humanist notion of self. Our analysis draws upon post-qualitative methods that offer different ways of re-presenting the gendered context of recovery experiences through a vital feminist politics. Normative ideas about recovery and resilience give way to more complex notions of becoming alive through embodied and collective processes of transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-11626-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-11625-5
Publication statusAcceptance date - 2 Apr 2019


  • gender
  • Feminism
  • Women
  • Depression
  • Recovery
  • sociology mental health
  • Embodiment
  • new materialism
  • Inequality
  • Antidepressive Agents/adverse effects
  • Physical activity
  • mental health


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