Symbolic collisions: Short-circuits in the libidinal economy

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-19
Identifier: 
etd20533
Keywords: 
Lacan
Populism
Spectacle
Symbolic order
Neoliberalism
Abstract: 

The logic of late capitalism is a logic of deterritorialization, spurning demythologized, denarrativized and desacralized social relations that emanate from a collapsing symbolic order. Austere neoliberal political governance and the business ontology characterizing neoliberal ideology reduces all that exists on the symbolic plane to mere exchange value where the only subject position available is that of the consumer-spectator – libidinally mined for their addictive, and therefore highly profitable, disposition. At nearly every hour of the day, the debtor-addict subject experiences their attention solicited and short-circuited. In this process, the parasitical metaspectacle of platform capitalism short-circuits desire as well as reason, giving way to reactionary modes of thinking and acting. The dissolution of symbolic frameworks for sociality and total immersion in imaginary realms of relating seeds the soil of a fraught, fragmenting and therefore politically reactive social bond. This project traces, through a psychoanalytic lens, the tension between the imaginary and the symbolic emerging in an era dominated by rights discourse, where entitlements are contested, removed and granted at an accelerated cultural pace. It is within this tension that we find an increasing desire for representation as a victim in virtual spheres of competing symbolic orders. The central question of this project asks how economic antagonisms, issues of class, are continually inscribed, ignored and displaced into the realm of culture in a hyperperformative and informationally intoxicated social milieu.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Samir Gandesha
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of Humanities
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Master of Arts
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