Burnout between rat-race and self-determinationBurnout is a currently well-discussed topic and is being analysed as an illness by various disciplines. This thesis adds to the on-going debate by offering a cultural anthropological approach to the phenomenon. It pursues the question how burnout manifests itself on a personal, societal as well as cultural level. By using comparable historical phenomena of medical conditions, burnout is placed in a bigger economical, political and social context. Furthermore, the construct, as well as the role of illness, are considered. Based on narrative interviews with affected men and women, their personal experience is then linked to current manifestations of different milieus of the present Austrian society. In the course of these interviews issues such as the acceleration of everyday life and the rat-race of gainful as well as reproductive work have been mentioned by the interviewees and have been identified as major stress factors leading to burning out. In this context the cultural production of the discourse on burnout and related fatigue conditions is conveyed and critically reflected upon within a cultural analysis. A strong focus is further put on the individual coping strategies of the interviewees to deal with the crisis burnout. It becomes apparent here, that despite all symptoms and adverse effects of being burned out, there are also positive perspectives for each individual. Viewed from this perspective, burnout does not primarily mean failure for the persons concerned but can become a metaphor for a transition towards more self-determination in their way of life.