Death and Mastery: Psychoanalytic Drive Theory and the Subject of Late Capitalism

Hardcover | November 8, 2016

byBenjamin Y. Fong

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The first philosophers of the Frankfurt School famously turned to the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud to supplement their Marxist analyses of ideological subjectification. Since the collapse of their proposed "marriage of Marx and Freud," psychology and social theory have grown apart to the impoverishment of both. Returning to this union, Benjamin Y. Fong reconstructs the psychoanalytic "foundation stone" of critical theory in an effort to once again think together the possibility of psychic and social transformation.

Drawing on the work of Hans Loewald and Jacques Lacan, Fong complicates the famous antagonism between Eros and the death drive in reference to a third term: the woefully undertheorized drive to mastery. Rejuvenating Freudian metapsychology through the lens of this pivotal concept, he then provides fresh perspective on Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse's critiques of psychic life under the influence of modern cultural and technological change. The result is a novel vision of critical theory that rearticulates the nature of subjection in late capitalism and renews an old project of resistance.

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From the Publisher

The first philosophers of the Frankfurt School famously turned to the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud to supplement their Marxist analyses of ideological subjectification. Since the collapse of their proposed "marriage of Marx and Freud," psychology and social theory have grown apart to the impoverishment of both. Returning t...

Benjamin Y. Fong is an Honors Faculty Fellow at Barrett, the Honors College of Arizona State University. His work has been published in Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion), The Stone (New York Times), and the Philosophical Salon (Los Angeles Review of Books).
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:November 8, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231176686

ISBN - 13:9780231176682

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: In Defense of Drive TheoryPart One: Dream1. Death, Mastery, and the Origins of Life: Sigmund Freud's Strange ProposalPart Two: Interpretation2. Between Need and Dread: Hans Loewald and the Primordial Density3. Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis (Reprised): Jacques Lacan and the Genesis of OmnipotencePart Three: Working Through4. The Psyche in Late Capitalism I: Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and the Crisis of Internalization5. The Psyche in Late Capitalism II: Herbert Marcuse and the Technological LureConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

To the vexed question of the relationship of psychoanalysis to social theory Benjamin Fong brings a distinctive sensibility and tact. Avoiding the portentousness and unduly ambitious abstraction of this now overspecialized field, Fong has made the whole subject both newly intriguing, and wholly engaging.