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The principal motif that runs throughout The Virtual Point of Freedom is a confrontation with the discourse of freedom, or, more specifically, the falsely transgressive ideal of a total emancipation that would know no constraints. Far from delineating a supposed “subject of freedom” that would allegedly overcome alienation once and for all, the seven chapters in Chiesa’s book seek to unfold an innovative reading of the dialectical coincidence between dis-alienation and re-alienation in politics, aesthetics, and religion, using psychoanalysis as a privileged critical tool. Topics include Pier Paolo Pasolini’s attack on the visual and biological degeneration of bodies brought about by pleasure-seeking “liberal” consumerism, Giorgio Agamben’s and Slavoj Žižek’s conflicting negotiations with the Christian tradition of “poverty” and “inappropriateness” as potential redemption, and Alain Badiou’s inability to develop a philosophical anthropology that could sustain a coherent politics of emancipation. The book concludes by sketching out the figure of the partisan, a subject who makes it possible to conceive of an intersection between provisional morality and radical politics.
About the Author
LORENZO CHIESA is the director of the Genoa School of Humanities in Italy.
“Lorenzo Chiesa is one of the most profound and rigorous theorists writing on psychoanalysis today. These lucid and compelling essays broaden his already considerable range, taking in rich reflections on Pier Paolo Pasolini, the ontology of Giorgio Agamben, and the affective and psychic resonances of urban space. The book coheres around a spirited defense of the productivity of limitations and constraints, a message especially urgent amidst a theoretical milieu more often enamored of ultra-leftist posturing and anti-critical metaphysics.”
—Tom Eyers, author of Lacan and the Concept of the 'Real' and Post-Rationalism: Psychoanalysis, Epistemology, and Marxism in Postwar France
"Lorenzo Chiesa is one of the rare philosophers capable of making Lacan’s psychoanalytic apparatus interact with the various languages of continental thought—from philosophy to politics, urban studies, and literature. In a dense network of references to Pasolini, Deleuze, Žižek, Badiou, and Agamben, the author analyzes with great hermeneutic finesse the contrasts and antinomies affecting the contemporary world.” —Roberto Esposito, author of Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life and Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Community