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He may not have all the answers, but he nonetheless prompts us to examine the questions. Five bees.

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Paul Verhaeghe

Want to know more? It is a collection of people, facts and events in Canadian history, and includes a bibliography of interesting Canadian books as well. August 11, - Posted by Gerry B. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.


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  • Gerry B's Book Reviews. What About Me? Review by Gerry Burnie To be at peace with a troubled world is not feasible unless one disavows almost everything that surrounds us.

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    Likewise, the unemployed contend with a whole new level of monitoring and snooping. About the book Admittedly, this is not a book for everyone, but it is surprisingly easy to read. Share this: Facebook Tumblr. Like this: Like Loading Are the courses of our lives shaped by genetic determinism or by the exercise of free will?

    Deeply resistant to the biological turn that he finds in contemporary social science, Veraeghe goes so far as to describe genetic determinism as the most recent manifestation of Calvinist predestination. But he does not contest the notion that genetic endowment manifests itself in human behavior. But altruism, cooperation, and solidarity—the banality of good—are just as innate, and it is the environment that decides which characteristics dominate.

    Says Who?: The Struggle for Authority in a Market-Based Society

    Rejecting inherent identity in this way, What about Me? The process of identity formation will therefore vary with the nature of society. Specifically within neoliberal societies, identity formation has taken on a paradoxical quality. In the neoliberal incarnation, homo economicus is guided by two narratives. To begin with, there is the success criterion, according to which occupational advancement and material prosperity are the only sources of either personal or social validation. Then there is the related concept of meritocracy, according to which achievements, or the lack of them, are entirely attributable to individual talent, which is to say that both success and failure are always well earned.

    More commonly, they seek solace in consumerism.

    Says Who?: The Struggle for Authority in a Market-based Society - Paul Verhaeghe - Google книги

    But, as John de Graaf and David Wann have shown in their book Affluenza , diminishing marginal utility blocks increased consumption as a road to happiness. The hegemonic status of neoliberalism was shaken by the global financial shock of , which is increasingly understood to be merely the latest in a series of shocks to which capitalism in its neoliberal form is inescapably prone. The scene of the action was an ordinary little factory in a small Belgian town. The man with the camera was a union representative.

    Quite a few people joined in; nobody tried to intervene. It later turned out that the bullying had been going on for years. In the days after the images were broadcast on television news, victims of similar incidents came forward with their stories. The first reported incident had happened in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium.

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    A crane driver working for a steel concern had suffered regular humiliation at the hands of his foreman and the boss of his shift. They pulled his trousers down, scrawled obscenities on his buttocks, and tied him to a jeep and drove him around. Afterwards they posted the clips on YouTube.

    In the month that followed, bullying remained a hot media item. Various sources revealed surprisingly high figures: 10—15 per cent of employees in Beligium are bullied. This calls for an explanation, and apparently there are plenty of them. The first comes from the reactionaries. They claim that bullying is caused by the loss of social norms and values.

    Things were better in the old days. A second group looks to the sphere of mental health for a cause. A mother who abuses her baby is mentally ill, surely? There has been a sharp increase in both diagnoses in recent decades, and this is less reassuring. The killers in Nazi concentration camps were just ordinary people, and psychological experiments show that almost anyone becomes a sadist under certain conditions.

    Take away all those violent computer games, and aggression will decrease sharply. Both the view that we are inherently good and the view that we are inherently bad create the impression that there is an unchanging human nature waiting to manifest itself. Apparently we no longer know who we are, and that is why we keep running to all kinds of experts, from psychologists to brain specialists and other soothsayers, to discover our true selves. This book stems from a different idea. There is no inherent identity: who someone is, whether good or bad, depends largely on their environment. If many people have nowadays lost their bearings, this says something about our environment.

    Apparently it has changed drastically, and therefore so have we. Why should a psychoanalyst write about these issues? What About Me? In an earlier book, I wrote about the end of psycho-therapy, investigating the link between mental disorders and social change. I have since become convinced that the impact of these changes is much more far-reaching than previously thought.

    Paul Verhaeghe What About Me

    The neo-liberal organisation of our society is determining how we relate to our bodies, our partners, our colleagues, and our children — in short, to our identities. I take my lead here from Sigmund Freud in his Civilisation and its Discontents. And, just like Freud, I will not shrink from adopting clear ethical stances. In recent years, the discussion about identity has flared up nearly everywhere in Europe. The True Finns are the third-largest party in the Finnish parliament.

    Belgium is being torn apart by Flemish nationalism, and elsewhere in Europe nationalist political groups are gaining ground. There is a straightforward explanation: confrontation with different identities, in the form of immigrants and asylum-seekers, and thus confrontation with different norms and values, creates uncertainty. Identity is not the abstract quality we vaguely assume it to be: we determine our identity by placing it alongside and, increasingly, contrasting it with other possible identities.

    The various stereotypes have one thing in common: they serve to make us feel superior. We are more civilised, more intelligent, work harder, and so on. In the midth century, the Germans looked down on the Untermenschen , the Japanese looked down on the Chinese, the French looked down on the Maghrebis — the list is endless.

    The importance we attach to these external characteristics is a measure of our own uncertainty: remove them, and the distinctions become practically invisible. Identity is internal. This makes it a lot harder to study; we really want to see those differences. In the present age, when explanations for all human behaviour are sought in the interplay of genes and neurons, one might expect to look there for more light to be shed on the internal aspects of identity.

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    As usual, we forget that this was tried a century ago, using craniometry — measuring skull circumference and capacity — to establish nice, clear distinctions between races and their identities. Whatever the case, the conviction that identity can be found somewhere inside us has proved to be extremely persistent.