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Masturbation, or sexuality in the atonal world

Zizek, Slavoj (2008) Masturbation, or sexuality in the atonal world. Lacan.com ,

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Official URL: http://www.lacan.com/symptom/?page_id=247

Abstract

Today’s predominant mode of politics is the post-political biopolitics an expression which is effectively tautological: “post-politics” designates the reduction of politics to the expert administration of social life. Such a politics is ultimately a politics of fear, a politics focused on the defense against a potential victimization or harassment. Therein resides the true line of separation between radical emancipatory politics and the predominant status quo politics: it is not the difference of two different positive visions, sets of axioms, but, rather, the difference between the politics based on a set of universal axioms and the politics which renounces the very constitutive dimension of the political, since it resorts to fear as its ultimate mobilizing principle: fear of immigrants, fear of crime, fear of godless sexual depravity, fear of the excessive State itself (with too high taxation), fear of ecological catastrophes, fear of harassment (which is why Political Correctness is the exemplary liberal form of the politics of fear) – such a (post)politics always relies on the manipulation of a paranoid ochlos – the frightening rallying of frightened men. The zero-level of politics today is the depoliticized expert administration and coordination of interests; the only way to introduce passion into this field, to actively mobilize people, is through fear. At the level of social objectivity, we have mechanisms and processes to be regulated by expert administrators; the subjective counterpart of it is fear, the basic constituent of today’s subjectivity. This is why the big event not only in Europe in the early 2006 was that the anti-immigration politics “went mainstream”: they finally cut the umbilical link that connected them to the far Right fringe parties. From France to Germany, from Austria to Holland, in the new spirit of pride at one’s cultural and historical identity, the main parties now find it acceptable to stress that the immigrants “are guests who have to accommodate themselves to the cultural values that define the host society – it is “our country, love it or leave it.” This fear is, at its most basic, the fear of the Neighbor. There are two topics which determine today’s liberal tolerant attitude towards Others: the respect of Otherness, openness towards it, and the obsessive fear of harassment – in short, the Other is OK insofar as its presence is not intrusive, insofar as the Other is not really Other… In the strict homology with the paradoxical structure of chocolate laxative, tolerance this coincides with its opposite: my duty to be tolerant towards the other effectively means that I should not get too close to him, not to intrude into his/her space – in short, that I should respect his/her intolerance towards my over-proximity. This is what is more and more emerging as the central “human right” in late-capitalist society: the right not to be “harassed,” i.e., to be kept at a safe distance from the others.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 16 May 2011 08:13
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:18
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2258

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