Stagflation, virtuosity and other ambivalences
This essay investigates emotional and affective dimensions to social life that emerge in the early period of neoliberalism. In consideration of the films Five Easy Pieces; Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller, I argue that negative affects such as depression, fear, anxiety, and cynicism not only reflect reconfigurations of selfhood engendered by neoliberalism but also present the possibility for new modes of sociality. Drawing on the work of Paolo Virno, I suggest that virtuosity-the capacity to perform-allows neoliberal subjects to navigate the emotional situation emergent from dynamic changes in the economy, politics, and culture.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Sociology, Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA
Publication date: 2009-07-01