CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

First introduced in psychopathological discourse in the early twentieth century, narcissism was later the object of famous sociological debates, especially around the work of Lasch (2000 [1979]). This author raised narcissistic personality disorder to the level of an emblem of a profound moral and societal crisis. But where are we with narcissism today? The question seems particularly relevant because, thirty years after its official “entry” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd Edition (DSM-III, 1980), this controversial disorder was at one point at risk of disappearing. Without being removed from the fifth and most recent version of the manual entirely, its status has, nevertheless, changed: it has passed from a personality disorder per se but of low prevalence, to a set of traits present in each and everyone, to such an extent that some even speak of a “narcissism epidemic.” In addition, some clinicians even consider a certain degree of narcissism to be beneficial for psychological health and social adjustment. Far from being limited to the field of psychiatry, we suggest that this change in the clinical status of narcissism reflects broader social dynamics that redefine the quest for equality.


  • narcissism
  • depathologization
  • singularism
  • self-esteem
  • mental health
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