Death and Mastery: Psychoanalytic Drive Theory and the Subject of Late Capitalism - New Directions in Critical Theory 61 (Paperback)Benjamin Fong (author)
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Drawing on the work of Hans Loewald and Jacques Lacan, Fong complicates the famous antagonism between Eros and the death drive in reference to a third term: the woefully undertheorized drive to mastery. Rejuvenating Freudian metapsychology through the lens of this pivotal concept, he then provides fresh perspective on Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse's critiques of psychic life under the influence of modern cultural and technological change. The result is a novel vision of critical theory that rearticulates the nature of subjection in late capitalism and renews an old project of resistance.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 240
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
In this masterful and enlivening study of the ways in which the concepts of death and mastery have been elaborated in Freudian and post-Freudian social theory, Ben Fong has given us the means to think about human nature and human community now, under conditions of advanced capitalism, without succumbing to the scientism of the new neurobiology or to the social constructivism of recent historicist social and cultural theory. The argument turns on the ambiguity embedded in the notion of mastery: on the one hand, the capacity to engage creatively with the world, to master the tasks of living a historical form of life; on the other, the temptation to enslave, to compel others to exercise this competence in one's place. Fong is able to analyze with remarkable lucidity a complex array of individual and social phenomena by fleshing out the imbrications of these twinned responses to what Freud called the drives' demand for work. Fong makes abundantly clear that drive theory and social theory are strongest when thought together.--Eric Santner, University of Chicago
To the vexed question of the relationship of psychoanalysis to social theory Benjamin Fong brings a distinctive sensibility and tact. Avoiding the portentousness and unduly ambitious abstraction of this now overspecialized field, Fong has made the whole subject both newly intriguing, and wholly engaging.--Adam Phillips, author of Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst
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