Pathos of (In)Difference: Subject Formations Through the Liberal Imaginary




Liu, Jasmine Shaeen

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This thesis will undertake a study of contemporary political subjectivity by investigating the manifestations of various pathea found in contemporary politics. In examining how political impotence and indifference are cultivated through (neo)liberal subject formation, it argues that contemporary neoliberal subjectivity is constituted through the pathos of distance found in the gap between the impotent liberal subject and the imaginary, universal ideal subject articulated by liberalism. Through close readings of Wendy Brown’s writings, I explore her work and engage with her formulations of contemporary political subjectivity. Specifically, I will analyze the impotent subject constituted by the pathos of ressentiment, the vulnerable subject constituted by the pathos of walling, and the tolerated subject constituted by the pathos of difference in order to trace the relationships between the various pathea and the subjectivities that they construct.



indifference, subject formation, contemporary political subjectivity, liberalism, neoliberalism, ressentiment, pathos of distance, Wendy Brown, Friedrich Nietzsche