BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Relationality in a time of surveillance: narcissism, melancholia, paranoia

    Frosh, Stephen (2016) Relationality in a time of surveillance: narcissism, melancholia, paranoia. Subjectivity 9 , pp. 1-16. ISSN 1755-6341.

    Narcissism, Melancholia, Paranoia Final.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (396kB) | Preview


    This paper explores apparent shifts in the cultural use of psychoanalytic concepts, from narcissism, through melancholia, to paranoia. It tries to track these shifts, very loosely, in relation to changes in sociocultural and political atmospheres, noting that none of the shifts are complete, that each one leaves previous states of being and of mind at least partially in place. Narcissism was perhaps the term of choice for examining the problem of forging relationships that feel meaningful in a context of rapid change and neoliberal expansion; then melancholia was (and is) drawn on to conceptualise the challenge of confronting loss and colonial ‘theft’; and now the annexation of the polity – and of everyday life – by massively insidious surveillance produces a culture and subjecthood that is fundamentally, and understandably, paranoid.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Subjectivity. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Narcissism, melancholia, paranoia, surveillance, psychoanalysis
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics (MAMSIE)
    Depositing User: Stephen Frosh
    Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2016 13:43
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:19


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item