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After the success with the new generation antidepressants

The introduction of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has entailed a revolution in the understanding and treatment of depression and other mood disorders. Despite the extended use of the SSRIs the social and scientific implications of this revolution is conspicuously poorly researched. The purpose of this project is thus to explore the complex changes brought about by the ‘SSRI revolution’ from an intersectional and multi-sited perspective.

The project particularly focuses on understandings of the self and on experiences, practices, biomedical knowledge production and discourses related to depression and medication. The project applies an explorative and interdisciplinary approach. It involves researchers in science and technology studies (STS), gender studies, developmental biology and cultural studies and thus bridges the epistemological gap between the natural sciences and the social sciences/humanities.

The project is multi-sited and focuses on four themes:

  1. the everyday experiences of patients/users of SSRI;
  2. the clinical practices and professional experiences of primary care physicians that meet and treat these patients;
  3. the developments and changes in the production of biomedical knowledge on brains and SSRIs as well as its dissemination into clinical practice; and

the discursive construction of the self, depression and SSRI-usage in policy and public debate. The empirical material will mainly consist of interviews and written documents.


Kerstin Sandell, PL, Department of Gender Studies, Lund University
Anna Bredström, Linköping University
Shai Mulinari, Department of Sociology, Lund University
Marianne Winther Jørgensen, Linköping University

Peer review

Bornäs, Hanna and Sandell Kerstin. (2016) ’Taking it out on the body? A phenomenological study of young adults
gendered experiences of antidepressant use’. Nora, 24: 251-266.

Bredström, Anna (2015) “Sociokulturellt sammanhang som etnisk skiljelinje i psykiatrisk diagnostik: kulturbegreppet i DSM-5”, Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift, No. 1, 2015.

Hagen N, Hedlund M, Lundin S, Mulinari S, Kristoffersson U (2013) Genetics and democracy—what is the issue? Journal of Community Genetics 4(2):181-188.

Mulinari S (2012) Monoamine theories of depression: historical impact on biomedical research. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences 21(4), 366-92.

Mulinari S (2013) Regulating drug information in Europe: a pyrrhic victory for pharmaceutical industry critics? Sociology of Health & Illness 35(5):761-77

Mulinari S (2014) The Specificity Triad: notions of disease and therapeutic specificity in biomedical reasoning. Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine. 9:14.

Mulinari S (2015) Divergence and convergence of commercial and scientific priorities in drug development: the case of Zelmid, the first SSRI antidepressant. Social Science & Medicine. doi.10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.020

Mulinari S. (2016) Regulating Pharmaceutical Industry Marketing: Development, Enforcement and Outcome of Marketing Rules. Sociology Compass 10: 74–86.

Mulinari S (in press) Let the drugs lead the way! On the unfolding of a research program in psychiatry. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology

Mulinari S. (in press) Explaining biological depression theories. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology

Mulinari S. (in press) Unhealthy Marketing of Pharmaceutical Products: An International Public Health Concern. Journal of Public Health Policy
Sandell, Kerstin and Hanna Bornäs (2017) “Functioning numbness instead of feelings as direction: Young adults
experiencing antidepressant use in the Neoliberal” Sociology 51(3): 543-558 (E-pub Aug 3, 2015).

Vilhelmsson A, Davis C, Mulinari S. (2016) Pharmaceutical industry off-label promotion and self-regulation: a document analysis of off-label promotion rulings by the United Kingdom Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority 2003-2012. PLoS Medicine 13(1): e1001945.

Winther Jørgensen, Marianne (2015) “Patient-centered decision-making? Biocitizens between evidence-based medicine and self-determination”. Evidence and Policy 11(3).

Zetterqvist AV, Merlo J, Mulinari S (2015) Complaints, Complainants, and Rulings Regarding Drug Promotion in the United Kingdom and Sweden 2004–2012: A Quantitative and Qualitative Study of Pharmaceutical Industry Self-regulation. PLoS Medicine 12(2):e1001785.

Zetterqvist AV, Mulinari S (2013) Misleading antidepressant advertising in Sweden: a failure of pharmaceutical industry self-regulation. PLoS ONE 8(5): e62609.

Sandell, Kerstin, & Bornäs, Hanna. (2015). Functioning Numbness Instead of Feelings as a Direction: Young Adults’ Experiences of Antidepressant Use. Sociology, doi:10.1177/0038038515591947

Sandell, Kerstin. (2016). Living the neurochemical self? Experiences after the success of the SSRIs. Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 17(2), 130-148

Non peer-review

Mulinari S (2011) Varför fara med osanningar om depressioners orsaker? Läkartidningen 108(38), 1839-40.

Mulinari S (2012) Slapp hantering av läkemedelsindustrin skadar läkemedelsverkets trovärdighet. Läkartidningen 46(109), 2107.

Mulinari S (2015) Många allvarliga regelbrott när läkemedel marknadsförs. Läkartidningen 14-15(112), 703.

Mulinari S (2015) Replik, etik och marknadsföring: Inte för sent för reformer. Läkartidningen 112:DF3C.

Sandell Kerstin (2016) Tillståndet som förlorade sitt namn men fick en behandling: erfarenheter av depression och antidepressiva läkemedel i en nyliberal kontext (The condition that lost its name but gained a treatment: experiences of depression and antidpessants in a neoliberal context). In Siv Fahlgren, Diana Mulinari and Angelika Sjöstedt Landén (eds) Feministiska läsningar av nyliberalism: begrepp och grepp om samtiden (Feminist readings of neoliberalism: conceptualizing the contemporary). Pp 84-109. Makadam förlag, Göteborg.

Sandell, Kerstin, Sager Maja and Nora Rätzhel (eds) (2014) Kritiska gemenskaper: att skriva feministisk och postkolonial vetenskap (Critical communitites: writing feminist and post-colonial science) Genusvetenskapliga institutionen, Lund.

Sandell, Kerstin (2015), 'Donna Haraway ', in Stefan Jonsson (ed), Samtida politisk teori (Tankekraft), 207-28.


Department of Gender Studies
Visiting address: Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14, House M, Lund
Postal address: Box 117, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Phone +46 46-222 00 00 (operator)
Fax: 046-222 40 04

Faculty of Social Sciences