The Mega Marketing Of Depression

1480 Words6 Pages
The state of wellbeing as it is experienced by the individual is thought to be a defining component of the human experience and inherent to the very notion of what it means to be a person. However, the concept of wellbeing and the definitions of happiness and wellbeing are not constant across the spectrum of human cultures; individuals’ experiences of emotions and happiness are as as varied and diverse as the cultures which they exist in. A person’s experience of happiness is defined by the culture’s language and driven by expectations that are both artificially created and rooted in cultural tradition. In his essay “The Mega Marketing of depression in Japan”, Ethan Watters explores the relationship between cultural expectations and the experience of happiness via the marketing campaign undertaken by pharmaceutical behemoths which succeeded in radically altering the Japanese definition of depression to agree with the Western model. Through Watter’s study, a better understanding of how language and values can rewrite the cultural narrative of wellbeing can be obtained. The language used by a culture plays a pivotal role in defining the broad spectrum of emotion and states of happiness felt by the individual. When looking only superficially at the role language plays in the experience of well-being, its function appears solely to be to provide a description of the experience which can be universally understood, even by those living in dissimilar cultures. However, the flaw

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