Department of Culture and Learning

International conference on The Social Pathologies of Contemporary Civilization

Date: Thursday 28th – Friday 29th October 2010. Venue: The Utzon Center, Aalborg Denmark


28.10.2010 kl. 09.00 - 29.10.2010 kl. 18.00


Thursday 28th – Friday 29th
October 2010
The Utzon Center, Aalborg Denmark

This conference addresses various interconnections between psychiatry and society. It does so by focusing on how contemporary epidemics, diseases, illnesses and medical syndromes are related to cultural pathologies of the collective social body, and how the body politic is related to the transformation and social embedding of psychiatric thinking. The central research hypothesis guiding the conference is that contemporary epidemics are to be analysed in the light of radical changes in our civilization and of the social hegemonization of the biomedical and psychiatric perspective. A particular focus of the conference is the role of humanities and social sciences, particularly sociology, philosophy and anthropology, in helping to understand the connection between social transformations and psychiatric perceptions of health & well-being.

Keynote Speakers

The conference brings together a panel of international experts to address these themes. Amongst our keynote speakers are:

  • Alain Ehrenberg, Professor of Sociology, Université Paris Decartes, France
  • Harvie Fergusson, Professor of Sociology, University of Glasgow, Scotland
  • Charles Medawar, Social Audit, London, England
  • Lennart Nørreklit, Professor of Philosophy, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Gerda Reith, Professor of Social Science, University of Glasgow, Scotland
  • Arpad Szakolczai, Professor of Sociology, University College Cork, Ireland
  • Richard Wilkinson, Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology, University of Nottingham, England 


Danish Centre for Philosophy and Science Studies, the working group on Psychiatry & Society, Department of Sociology, Social Work and Organization, Aalborg University, Denmark, and the School of Sociology & Philosophy, UCC, Ireland.



09.00-11.15 Registration: Coffee and Tea will be served

11.15-11.30 Opening address

11.30-12.45 Keynote Speaker: Richard Wilkinson 'Social Pathologies and Inequality'

12.45-13.30 Lunch Break

13.45-16.00 Paper sessions – 3 parallel of 4 papers each

16.15-17.30 Keynote Speaker: Alain Ehrenberg ‘On the Notion of Social Pathology’

17.30-17.45 Coffee and Tea Break

17.45-19.00 Keynote Speaker: Charles Medawar ‘Intimations of Pharmageddon’

20.00          Dinner


08.30-10.30 Paper sessions – 3 parallel of 4 papers each: Coffee and tea will be served.

10.45-12.00 Keynote Speaker: Gerda Reith ‘Pathological gambling and the excesses of  

12.00-12.45 Lunch Buffet

13.00-15.00 Paper sessions – 3 parallel of 4 papers each

15.15-17.00 Plenary: Harvie Ferguson and Arpad Szakolczai “The Social Pathologies of
                  Contemporary Civilization”

17.00-17.15 Coffee and Tea Break

17.15-18.15 Closing Keynote Speaker: Lennart Nørreklit ‘Social change, Precarity and Quality
                  of Life’

Department of Culture and Learning • Kroghstraede 3 • 9220 Aalborg East • Phone: +45 9940 8005 • Email: • VAT no: DK 29102384
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