"Anxiety and Neoliberalism: A Psychoanalytic Approach", 2015
Abstract: Throughout the domains of social theory, philosophy and psychoanalysis, anxiety moves along the margins of knowledge and existential experience, addressing the notion of nothingness; the "fundamental incompleteness" in Beck, the "nothing" in Kierkegaard, the "lost-object" in Freud, the "objet petit a" in Lacan. The question I pose here is why should we read neoliberalism through anxiety. To answer that, I discuss why the neoliberal project, as an ideology and a discourse, is inappropriate for overcoming the production of risk in the context of the “risk society”. Neoliberalism, as based on the idea of the market’s renewal from within the economy, and the individual as self-entrepreneur and self-sufficient, constructs the fantasy that sustains a fascination with an imaginary other. I suggest, from a psychoanalytic perspective, that anxiety for the subject can open the way to the Other beyond the enjoyment of the narcissistic identification. I argue that the subject in neoliberalism, in order to work-through the vicious cycle of recurring crises, would have to withdraw from the enjoyment of narcissistic self-destruction and aggressiveness. Anxiety, then, is what points to the neoliberal ideology's own failure, meaning that it constitutes a fantasy that allows for misregarding the most fundamental aspect of the subject of modernity, its fundamental and constitutive Lack.