Renata Salecl: "The policy of choice as policy of violence"

Post Truth(?); Enjoyment; Trump, Alt Right - a backlash of attacking Political Correctness. ... And more ... Restructuring of the discourse - Left/Right.



“If an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say in a pleasant and hopeful voice, "Well this isn't too bad, I don't have a left arm anymore but at least nobody will ever ask me if I'm left-handed or right-handed," but most of us would say something more along the lines of, "Aaaaaa! My arm! My arm!”

"The Question Man" a parody where the answers were given first, followed by the question:

"Malaise of civilization and malaise of the individual go hand in hand. Social changes thus affect the symptoms of malaise people suffer from and the new symptoms people develop, of course, affect society as a whole.

In the last decade, there have been many debates in psychoanalytic circles about how social changes that we experience in postindustrial capitalism affect individuals. The ideology of postindustrial capitalism has heavily relied on the idea of choice, freedom, self-determination, and endless progress. The underside of this ideology, however, has been an increase in anxiety and in the individual's feelings of inadequacy, and guilt for not making it in today's world. Until very recently, the ideology of choice has actually functioned very well to prevent any questioning about possible social change. The individual was rather engaged in constant self-change—often to the point of self- destruction.

Identification with the ideology of choice has, on the one hand, contributed to the formation of new psychological symptoms where people impose particular new forms of aggression toward themselves, while on the other hand, it has also encouraged various forms of social violence. The lecture will look at new cases of aggression that people are imposing onto themselves and others. It will also look at the way judicial system increasingly identifies with fictional accounts of violence as presented in films and TV dramas – especially when it searches for the truth about subjectivity in his or her genes or brain. In conclusion, the lecture will look at the power of ignorance and denial which play important role in the way violence becomes the underside of the ideology of choice."

Renata Salecl is a Slovenian philosopher, sociologist and legal theorist. She is a senior researcher at the Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law at the University of Ljubljana, and holds a professorship at Birkbeck College, University of London. She has been a visiting professor at London School of Economics, lecturing on the topic of emotions and law. Every year she lectures at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (New York), on Psychoanalysis and Law, and she has also been teaching courses on neuroscience and law. From 2012, furthermore, she is visiting professor at the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King's College London.
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