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The End of Dissatisfaction: Jacques Lacan and the Emerging Society of Enjoyment

The End of Dissatisfaction: Jacques Lacan and the Emerging Society of Enjoyment

The salient feature of contemporary American society is the premium that it places on enjoyment. Ours is what Michael Wolf calls an “entertainment economy,” in which, as Neil Postman puts it, we risk “amusing ourselves to death.” This enjoyment explosion seems to represent a marked change from just forty years ago—as if we have entered into a new epoch of social relations. This change inevitably gives rise to the question of the degree of its radicality: Is this “proliferation of enjoyment” an indication of a fundamental change in the social order as such—or is it simply a part of the normal evolution of capitalist society? Whereas most historians view the emergence of modernity from traditional societies as the most dramatic rupture in the history of the West, it is the contention of this project that the increasing proliferation of inducements (and commandments) to enjoy represents a transformation in the social order as drastic as the emergence of modernity. It marks a shift in the very logic of social organization.

Introduction. Psychoanalysis after Marx

Chapter 1. From Prohibition to Enjoyment

Chapter 2. The Decline of Paternal Authority

Chapter 3. Embracing the Image

Chapter 4. Shrinking Distances

Chapter 5. Interpretation under Duress

Chapter 6. The Appeal of Cynicism

Chapter 7. The Politics of Apathy

Chapter 8. A Missing Public World

Chapter 9. Explosions of Incivility, aggressiveness, and Violence

Conclusion. From Imaginary Enjoyment to Its Real Counterpart

Notes

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