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Material Theory:Duration and the Serotonin Hypothesis of Depression

Theory, Culture & Society , Volume 20 (5): 1 – Oct 1, 2003


Sage Publications
Copyright © 2003 by SAGE Publications
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Material Theory:Duration and the Serotonin Hypothesis of Depression


This article addresses the serotonin hypothesis of depression, as it was formulated in clinical and laboratory experiments during the 1950s. In the first instance I argue that the `challenge' posed by patients' subjectivities in clinical investigations into the potentially anti-depressant drug iproniazid was not solely due to the tensions generated by the subject/object dichotomy, but to an excess that exceeds the properties of the objects of the experiment, as well as its requirements and conditions. I then suggest that the serotonin hypothesis too is possessed of an excess, and that this can be understood in terms of a real (actual and virtual) existence in duration. By exploiting the notions of the event and of duration, I offer an under-standing of the hypothesis that pertains not to reduction, reproducibility and sameness, but to differentiation, innovation and creation.
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