BSP Podcast: Oskar Otto Frohn on Shame and Depression

podcast update

This episode of the BSP Podcast sees Oskar Otto Frohn presenting a paper from our 2022 conference, ‘Engaged Phenomenology II’.

Season 6 episode 152: 6 June 2024

Season 6 continues with another presentation from our 2022 annual conference, Engaged Phenomenology II: Explorations of Embodiment, Emotions, and Spatiality. This episode features a presentation from Oskar Otto Frohn.

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Oskar Otto Frohn
‘Shame and Depression – A Phenomenological Qualitative Exploration of Shame in Depression’

The individual suffering from depression is prone and susceptible to normative, precise, rigid ways of being, and expectations in social and societal spheres induce exceptional strong feelings of obligation towards oneself, others, and society – as though they are constantly in debt and owe something of value. Ways of how one ought to be and act quickly becomes performative tasks for the person with depression, and failing to perform or falling short of their self-established duties in social interactions, even when alone, evoke feelings of existential shame. Taking the shape of something irrevocable, and becomes part of the individual’s essence, a character trait, or even a state of being, a shame for existing. Shame, then, is an integral part of depression and the lived experience. Therefore, based upon phenomenological qualitative interviews of people with depression, I argue in this talk, firstly, that the shame of not living up to self-imposed, rigid, specific normative ways of being drastically affect the lifeworld of the person with depression with a hypersensitivity, where otherwise local affordances has become global, threatening the ‘I’ in relation to itself – representing ways in which to either prove or disprove an identity, which potentially leads to what Thomas Fuchs (2013) calls the corporealization of the lived body, as a means to protect the ‘I’. Secondly, shame shows how people with depression, unlike commonly considered, live rich inner social lives. And although shame is a, seemingly, overly negative emotion, it also points towards meaningful personal relations with others, and just how valuable these are to people with depression, and how extremely hyperaware they are of the social dimension, even if they withdraw themselves.

Biography: Oskar Otto Frohn graduated as an undergraduate in philosophy from University of Copenhagen, and recently obtained a M.A from KU Leuven. He has worked with and researched depression for almost four years as a scientific assistant in philosophy and has focused primarily on phenomenology of psychopathology and first-person lived experience in his master’s programme.

Further Information:

This recording is taken from our Annual UK Conference 2022: Engaged Phenomenology II: Explorations of Embodiment, Emotions, and Sociality (Exeter, UK / Hybrid) with the University of Exeter. Sponsored by the Wellcome Centre, Egenis, and the Shame and Medicine project. For the conference our speakers either presented in person at Exeter or remotely to people online and in-room, and the podcast episodes are recorded from the live broadcast feeds.

The British Society for Phenomenology is a not-for-profit organisation set up with the intention of promoting research and awareness in the field of Phenomenology and other cognate arms of philosophical thought. Currently, the society accomplishes these aims through its journal, events, and podcast. Why not find out more, join the society, and subscribe to our journal the JBSP?