Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226547374 Will Publish April 2018
E-book $45.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226547404 Will Publish April 2018

The Government of Desire

A Genealogy of the Liberal Subject

Miguel de Beistegui

The Government of Desire

Miguel de Beistegui

320 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226547374 Will Publish April 2018
E-book $45.00 ISBN: 9780226547404 Will Publish April 2018
Whether as economic interest, sexual drive, or the basic longing for recognition, desire is accepted as a core component of our modern self-identities, and something we need to cultivate. But as Miguel de Beistegui charts in The Government of Desire, this has not been true in all times and all places. For centuries, as far back as late antiquity and early Christianity, philosophers believed that desire was an impulse that needed to be suppressed in order for the good life, whether personal or collective, ethical or political, to flourish.  Though we now take it for granted, it was only in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that the naturalization of desire took place, and the pillars of the liberal self and form of government were erected. 
 
By critically exploring Foucault’s claim that Western civilization is a civilization of desire, de Beistegui crafts a provocative and original genealogy of this shift in thinking. He shows how the relationship between identity, desire, and governance has been harnessed and transformed in the modern world, shaping our relations with others and ourselves, and establishing desire as an essential driving force for the constitution of a new and better social order. But is it? The Government of Desire argues that this is precisely what a contemporary politics of resistance must seek to overcome, questioning the supposed universality of a politics based on recognition and the economic satisfaction of desire. Relying on Foucault as well as on Deleuze and Guattari, de Beistegui highlights the need to elaborate a politics of difference and creation, raising the crucial question of how can we manage to be less governed today and positing strategic questions of possible contemporary forms of counter-conduct.

​Drawing on a host of thinkers from philosophy, political theory, and psychoanalysis, and concluding with a call for a sovereign and anarchic form of desire, The Government of Desire is a groundbreaking account of our freedom and unfreedom, of what makes us both governed and ungovernable.
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Why Desire?
Part One     Homo Oeconomicus
1          The Birth of Homo Oeconomicus
2          Man’s “Vain and Insatiable Desires,” or the “Oeconomy of Greatness”
3          Neoliberal Governmentality
Part Two    Homo Sexualis
4          “Abnormal Desires” and “Barbarous Instincts”: The Birth of the Sexual Pervert
5          Instincts or Drives? The Birth of Psychoanalysis
Part Three   Homo Symbolicus
6          Recognition, That “Most Ardent Desire”
7          Struggles for Recognition
8          The Consolations of Recognition
Conclusion: Desire, Again . . .
Notes
Bibliography
Index
 
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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