Burnout and depression in academia: A look at the discourse of the university | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1757-1952
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1960



Burnout and depression are no strangers to academics. For both students and faculty, these psychological phenomena can plague and even end careers. In this article, it is proposed that burnout and depression among both graduate students and faculty are a primary manifestation of the underlying discourse that is prevalent among many academic institutions. Through the lens of Lacanian discourse theory we will look at the unconscious communication within academia that may be perpetuating the modern dilemma of depression and burnout for both students and professors. Initially, we will look at the concepts of burnout and depression in terms of their clinical manifestations and prevalence. From there, we will consider Lacan’s discourse theory, most notably the concept of the university discourse, and how the unconscious dimension of communication may be effectively propagating psychological distress in academia. Lastly, the article will conclude possible avenues that the academic field can take in order to avoid the pitfalls of such a discourse.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): academia; burnout; depression; discourse; Lacan; unconscious
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