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Class 10: Wounded Attachments (Wendy Brown)

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Javier Taillefer

on 12 February 2014

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Transcript of Class 10: Wounded Attachments (Wendy Brown)

6. Resentment
7. Politicised Identity as Resntment
1. Wendy Brown
9. A Way Out?
Recognition of the pain into self-overcoming
I am > I want this for us
(collective good as desire)
Wanting to be/have
as destabilising modes of speech against identity as fixed position

An effect of domination that reiterates impotence
, a substitute for action, for power, for self-affirmation that reinscribes incapacity, powerlessness, and rejection."
Denial of true (re)action:
suffering as the measure of social virtue.
Reverses (without subverting) the blaming structure.
Seeks punishment instead of self-affirmation.
Attachment to the past:
1. Produces an affect that overwhelms the hurt.
2. Produces a culprit responsible for the hurt.
3. Produces a site of revenge to displace the hurt.
It is a
of politicised identity’s desire: its impulse to
inscribe in the law its historical and present pain rather than conjure an imagined future of power to make itself.
Intrinsic incitement to resentment in liberalism (Nietzsche): "
the moralising revenge of the powerless"
"the triumph of the weak as weak"
Paradoxes within liberalism:
Individual Liberty vs Egalitarism
Individualism vs Cultural Homogeneity.
5. Why (un)Emancipatory Projects? Resentment!
Nietzsche's "Slave Morality"
It is NOT about "when" and "where" freedom can be practiced: I
t is about the direction of the will to power
(which potentially animates a desire for freedom).
3. Foucault and Freedom as Practice
Prof. of Political Science at Berkley
Influenced by Marx, Nietzsche, Weber, Foucault...
Democracy, neoliberalism, power, political identity, subjectivity, (in)tolerance, etc.
Class 10: Wounded Attachments (Wendy Brown)
Departing point:
Margins asserted as margins which refuse absorption.
Emancipatory projects based on identity?
Tendency to reproach power instead of aspiring to it.
"I's" vs "We":
Sustainable as long as they remain unpoliticised.
Loss of substantive nation-state identification:
liberal discourse and economy (production of desires).
Resentment displaced onto discourses of injustice rather than class.
Phantasmatic middle class.
2. Political Identity in Late Modern Democracy
Subject ceases to desire freedom


Subject loathes freedom

difference as no-difference
Persons are reduced to observable social attributes
and practices defined empirically, positivistically, as if their existence were intrinsic and factual, rather than effects of discursive and institutional power"
these positivist definitions
of persons as their attributes and practices
are written into law
, ensuring that persons describable according to them will now become regulated through them"
The language of freedom becomes the language of domination.
4. Foucault Vs Nietzsche
"The now and the past on earth -alas, my friends, that is what I find most unendurable; and I should not know how to live if I were not also a seer of that which must come. A seer, a willer, a creator, a future himself and a bridge to the future - and alas, also, as it were, a cripple at this bridge: all this is Zarathustra"
(Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra")
8. From the Past to the Future: Identity as Doing vs Attachments
Psychology and Sociology of Business
Javier Taillefer
"As liberal discourse converts political identity into essentialized private interest, disciplinary power converts interest into normativized social identity manageable by regulatory regimes" (59)
Anaesthetises that which is unendurable.
Post-modern capitalism accelerates and enhances resentment:
Increased global contingency (William Connolly) + capital + bureaucratic apparatuses =
individual powerlessness
over the fate and direction of one’s own life.
Desacralisation of all areas of life
> Priests (before) vs External Agency (now).
Unrelieved individual
“Willing liberates; but what is it that puts even the liberator himself into fetters? “It was” –that is the name of the will’s gnashing of teeth and most secret melancholy. Powerless against what has been done, he is an angry spectator of all that is past…He cannot break time and time’s covetousness, that is the will’s loneliest melancholy”
(Nietzsche, "Thus Spoke Zarathustra")
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