After the Good Life, the Impasse & the precarious present

“This lecture draws on two films of Laurent Cantet – Human Resources (1999) and Time Out (2001) – to engage the new affective languages of the contemporary economic atmosphere, languages of anxiety, contingency and precarity.”

4 responses to “After the Good Life, the Impasse & the precarious present

    • yes thanks that’s a good one, i spent a lot of time years back translating psychoanalysis (object-relations writ large) first into existentialist/phenomenological and than neo-pragmatist terms and now doing similar things to try and incorporate the latest extended-minding, enactivist, cognitive-bias, sorts of research and am taken with the possibilities here of thinking thru the affect/moods/desires and imagination/experimentation but will have to come back to it (hopefully sooner than later) when i get ahead of some other things, one thing i’m not sure about with her work (or like-minded efforts as with jane bennett on strategic animism) is to what degree one can consciously adopt such attitudes without being a true-believer (placebo-like?) and still be moved by them past old habits, into new aspect-dawnings?

      • Excellent question, one that i’m not so sure ‘Cruel Optimism’ can answer. It seems like one could say that the belief in our capacity to imagine an Otherwise is itself a cruel optimism. This lecture is a bit more ‘hopeful’ in this possibility than the text itself is. I think the the interview you posted previously frames the aim and intention of ‘CO’ much more modestly: as a descriptive, rather than prescriptive, project of cultural criticism.

        I think yr question also hits on the very real and practical limits of ‘radical critique.’ I doubt any of the folks on this panel subscribe to a voluntarist depiction of what produces radical social change, despite the occasional hints of it in this panel. Berlant too is highly skeptical of the notion that finding the right analysis/way of thinking ‘the state of the situation’ will in itself be enough to overturn habits n material formations that are so deeply entrenched.

      • “What kinds
        of world for mass thriving affect theory, or any theory, can induce
        is another question. The reason so many queer theorists are interested
        in it, I think, is because while one can’t intend an affect,
        one can become attentive to the nimbus of affects whose dynamics
        move along and make worlds, situations, and environments. In attending
        to, representing, and standing for these alternative modes
        of being, we seek to provide new infrastructures for extending their
        potential to new planes of convergence. I hope!”
        Affect in the End Times: A Conversation with Lauren Berlant…/affect-in-the-end-times

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