University of Wolverhampton
In this paper, I shall explore the relationship between masculinity and depression in Polish postcommunism. More particularly, I am interested in how men diagnosed with major depressive episode experience themselves and their illness in the context of the changes of the systemic transformations Poland after 1989, and particularly its labour markets.
I shall demonstrate that despite the particular context of mental illness, my informants draw upon the neo-liberal discourses of work, introduced in Poland immediately after 1989 as the dominant economic ideology. I shall then argue that positioning postcommunist changes explicitly in the stories of mental illness not only hinders recovery, but, importantly, potentially forecloses the possibility of resistance to the ‘performance-based’ model of masculinity
In conclusion I shall offer some comment on the relationship between macro-economic discourses and those of lived experience.