Hysteria is a stunning diagnosis of our late modern society, that not only encourages hysteria, but also abuses and rewards it – through social media, the economy, and even in politics. Since its publication in 2021, the book has been dubbed ‘an astoundingly imaginative and keenly observed work of scholarship’ by numerous commentators, including Alex Vitale, Jonathan Simon and Jeff Ferrell.
Hyperventilating, we rush from one incident into the next – there is hardly time for a breather. From the worldwide run on toilet paper to cope with coronavirus fears to the overheated discussions on Facebook and Twitter about immigration and overwrought reactions to the levels of crime around us, we live in a culture of hysteria. While hysteria is typically discussed in emotional terms – as an obstacle to be overcome – it nevertheless has very real consequences in everyday life. Irritating though this may be, hysteria needs to be taken seriously, for what it tells us about our society and way of life. What makes hysteria pop up in different locations time and again, and why are people gripped so quickly by the sudden excitement and excessive emotions it causes?
Written in a clear and direct style, Marc Schuilenburg shows that hysteria has become the business model of the neoliberal age. While medically speaking, hysteria no longer exists, politics, the economy and social media still profit from the occasional panic. In his words, “Twitter would go bankrupt tomorrow without hysteria.”
Schuilenburg gives us in Hysteria a critical analysis of developments in our society which enable hysteria to continue to function, proving himself again to be one of the most creative, indeed prescient critics of crime, media and politics writing today.
‘An eye opener, for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.’
Paul Verhaeghe, author of What About Me? The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society
‘Schuilenburg resuscitates a term once disregarded as imprecise and hyperbolic, giving us a language to understand and describe our frantic present.’
Travis Linnemann, author of Media and Crime in the U.S.
Marc Schuilenburg is the author of Hysteria, which Alex Vitale, author of The End of Policing, called “A powerful insight into the rise of reactionary right-wing politics rooted in fear, anger, and frustration sweeping the US and much of the rest of the world”.
Marc works at VU Amsterdam on the edge of sociology, philosophy and criminology. He is the author of the critically and publicly acclaimed books The Securitization of Society (NYU-Press, 2015) and Mediapolis (010-Publishers, 2006). His PhD on the workings of security assemblages in urban environments, was awarded the triennial Willem Nagel Prize by the Dutch Society of Criminology. He has been a visiting professor in New York (John Jay College, 2013) and Ipswich (University Campus Suffolk, 2014-2020).
Marc has been featured in (inter)national radio and television media outlets, including VICE, NPO Radio, Nieuwsuur, NRC Handelsblad, de Volkskrant, Trouw, de Groene Amsterdammer, Euronews, Follow the Money, the Correspondent, NOS, and Arte.
During his writing, he listens to John Coltrane, Radiohead, Actress, Scratch Lee Perry, Autechre, Pharoah Sanders, and Morrissey. He lives in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.