Hell is other people 

“Hell is Other People” – The concept and phenomenology of social anxiety

Workshop 12–13 January 2017, Berlin


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Luisenstraße 56, 10117 Berlin
Room 144 (ground floor)
How to get here


Sanja Dembić (Department of Philosophy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Gina Eickers (Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Sanneke de Haan (Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)



Invited speakers

Rachel Cooper (Lancaster University)
Thomas Fuchs (Heidelberg University)


In this two-day workshop, we will explore the concept and phenomenology of social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety is defined as the fear of social situations, of interactions with other people. Some extent of social anxiety has probably been experienced by everyone, like stage fright, or the fear of making a fool of oneself. What exactly demarcates such normal social anxiety from social anxiety disorder? And how does social anxiety disorder relate to other phenomena that lead to avoidance behaviour concerning social situations, such as for example shyness?

In the workshop, we will address these questions under the following 3 topics:

(1) The phenomenology of social anxiety disorder (and related phenomena);
(2) The conceptual demarcation of social anxiety disorder;
(3) The relationship between social anxiety disorder and other phenomena such as shyness.


Thursday, 12 January 2017

10:00 – 10:30
Welcome & Coffee

10:30 – 12:00
Introductory Session
“What is Social Anxiety Disorder?”

12:00 – 13:00
Lunch Break

13:00 – 14:30
Thomas Fuchs
“Shame, social anxiety, and the body”

14:30 – 15:00
Coffee Break

15:00 – 16:00
Anna Bortolan
“Self-esteem and Social Anxiety Disorder”

16:00 – 16:30
Coffee Break

16:30 – 17:30
Jake Jackson & Katherine Cecil
“(Im)plausible stories – the outsider within”


Friday, 13 January 2017

9:30 - 10:30
Gina Eickers
“Feeling embarrassed”

10:30 - 11:00
Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:00
Lisa Smyth
“SAD: A sociological perspective?”

12:00 - 13:00
Lunch Break

13:00 - 14:30
Rachel Cooper
“Shy, sick, home girls: the conceptual puzzle of social anxiety disorder”

14:30 - 15:00
Coffee Break

Final Discussion

Texts (pre-reading)

  • Tyrer & Emmanuel (1999) „Social Anxiety disorder from the perspectives of ICD-10 and DSM-IV: clinical picture and classification“, in Westenberg & den Boer (eds.) Social Anxiety Disorder, Amsterdam: Syn-Thesis Publishers
  • Wakefield, Horwitz & Schmitz (2005) „Are we overpathologizing the Socially Anxious? Social Phobia from a Harmful Dysfunction Perspective“, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 49: 736-742
This page last updated on: 17 January 2017