Why, when we are desperately in love, do we endlessly block union with our love object? Why do we often destroy what we love most? Why do we search out the impossible object? Is it that we desire things because they are unavailable, and therefore, to keep desire alive, we need to prevent its fulfilment? Love and hate go hand in hand, since the subject is both attracted and repelled by the uncontrollable jouissance of the other. In contemporary society, intersubjective relations have changed with the decline of social prohibitions; but this change has not simply brought liberation, it has also triggered various forms of violence, including self-mutilation. In seeking out new forms of prohibition, don’t young people who pierce their bodies have something in common with African immigrants who embrace clitoridectomy, or with women who act on their dates according to the instructions set out in the Rules? In Perversions of Love and Hate, Renata Salecl explores the disturbing and complex relationships between love and hate, violence and admiration, libidinal and destructive drives, through investigation of phenomena as diverse as the novels The Age of Innocence and The Remains of the Day, Hollywood melodramas, the Siren song, Ceaucescu’s Rumania and the Russian performance artist Oleg Kulik, who acts like a dog and bites his audience. For Salecl--who questions the legitimacy of the calls for tolerance and respect by multiculturalists--practices such as body-mutilation are symptoms of the radical change that has affected subjectivity in contemporary society.
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Published January 17, 1999
Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Political & Social Sciences, Romance, Gay & Lesbian, Parenting & Relationships, Law & Philosophy, Self Help.