Andrea Hurst’s essay for the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, published online in advance of the paper edition.
Andrea Hurst – ‘Capitalism and the Banality of Desire’: JBSP Special Edition Capital, Sex and Africa (Originally published online: 26 February 2020).
Abstract: This paper elaborates on Todd McGowan’s perspicacious, psychoanalytic explanation of capitalism’s resilience, due to its formidable ideological insinuation into the banal micro-desires of consumers. I outline his contention that capitalism’s false promise of future satisfaction is subverted by the psychical change indicated by Freud’s re-evaluation of the desire/satisfaction relationship. This is elaborated on via Lacan’s claim, somewhat underplayed in McGowan’s reflections, that desire is essentially narcissistic. Lacan’s claim raises the stakes of capitalism’s psychic appeal, but also indicates how Lacanian psychoanalysis offers a point of intervention. I briefly point to the consistency between Lacan’s conception of the actualized subject and Deleuze’s and Guattari’s articulation of desire in terms of “the process” and the complex metaphor of “desiring machines”. I finally turn to Žižek’s conception of the developing world as “the place of rupture” and a major fault line internal to capitalism that threatens to disrupt its operation.
Full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071773.2020.1732576
Andrea Hurst, SARChI Chair in Identities and Social Cohesion in Africa, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
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