Embracing Alienation: Why We Shouldn't Try to Find Ourselves (Paperback)

Embracing Alienation: Why We Shouldn't Try to Find Ourselves By Todd Mcgowan Cover Image

Embracing Alienation: Why We Shouldn't Try to Find Ourselves (Paperback)


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The left views alienation as something to be resisted or overcome, but could it actually form the basis of our emancipation?

In Embracing Alienation, Todd McGowan offers a completely different take on alienation, claiming that the effort to overcome it is not a radical response to the current state of things but a failure to see the constitutive power of alienation for all of us. Instead of trying to overcome alienation and accede to an unalienated existence, it argues, we should instead redeem alienation as an existential and political program.

Engaging with Shakespeare’s great tragedies, contemporary films such as Don’t Worry Darling, and even what occurs on a public bus, as well as thinkers such as Descartes, Hegel, and Marx, McGowan provides a concrete elaboration of how alienation frees people from their situation. Relying on the tradition of dialectical thought and psychoanalytic theory, Embracing Alienation reveals a new way of conceiving how we measure progress — or even if progress should be the aim at all.
Todd McGowan teaches theory and film at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Enjoyment Right and Left, The Racist Fantasy, Universality and Identity Politics, Emancipation After Hegel, Only a Joke Can Save Us, and Capitalism and Desire, among other works. He is the cohost of the Why Theory podcast and coeditor of the Diaeresis series at Northwestern University Press with Slavoj Žižek and Adrian Johnston.
Product Details ISBN: 9781915672223
ISBN-10: 1915672228
Publisher: Repeater
Publication Date: April 9th, 2024
Pages: 206
Language: English
"A seminal text that masterfully remakes our understanding of the emancipatory potential of alienated subjectivity... In vivid prose and lucid explications, McGowan incisively displays the impediments to true egalitarianism presented by any group identity and defines, instead, alienation as the driving force for liberatory practices."
— Sheldon George, Professor and Chair of Literature & Writing, Simmons University