Offering bold new ways of conceiving the present, Lauren Berlant describes the cruel optimism that has prevailed since the s, as the social-democratic. Moments of uncertainty can make us feel as though situations that evoke dreadful anxiety can be quelled by embracing optimism. Yet, as Lauren Berlant argues. Teasing out the relation whereby ‘something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing’ ( 1), Lauren Berlant’s brilliant book, Cruel Optimism.

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Jul 12, Marie rated it liked it Shelves: Achieving conventionality, as we will see, is not the same as achieving security. Public address scholars have long been concerned with the attendant modes of political engagement that work to negotiate the relationship between risk, probability, and knowledge in contingent situations.

I still can’t get this image out of my head. Offering bold new ways of conceiving the present, Lauren Berlant describes the cruel optimism that has prevailed since the s, as the social-democratic promise of the postwar period in the United States and Europe has retracted.

Jul 24, Madeleine rated it really liked it Shelves: She the editor of the books Intimacy ; Compassion: I have argued throughout this book that the neoliberal present is a space of transition, not only between modes of production and modes of life, but between different animating, sustaining fantasies. I really enjoyed chapter five, especially the thoughts related to slow death, but was less interested in other things? Health is commodified as future labor output and used as a weapon to brand the ill as a drain on our society.

Posted by A Nerdy New Yorker at 6: Money, meanwhile, is treated as the greatest leveler. And its primacy in culture colors everything: She suggests that our stretched-out present is characterized by new modes of temporality, and she explains why trauma theory—with its focus on reactions to the exceptional event that shatters the ordinary—is not useful for understanding the ways that people adjust over time, once crisis itself has become ordinary.

Cruel Optimism

Return to Book Page. Also interesting is her recuperation of queerness, alongside untetheredness more broadly, as something that is always under threat of and beset by cruel optimism – the yearning for something, a fantasy, that, at the same time as it gives us reason to go on, tortures us with our inability to oprimism its object. Definitely thought-provoking, though some of the connections between chapters felt a little disparate?


Sep 02, Jordany rated it it was amazing Shelves: All of which costs money. My grandmother told me, in a letter ophimism later helped release her from permanent com Will soon review this for Common Knowledge.

What she isn’t as good at is saving her readers from a visceral sense of the precarious present, but that is part of the point.

Refresh and try again. Yet, as Lauren Berlant argues in her recent work, attachments to optimistic fantasies can often become, well, cruel. Hopelessness is en vogue because there is no way to imagine a life outside of American capitalism. We can’t help but check-in and react, terrified of being laureb as apathetic or apolitical.

Cruel Optimism by Lauren Berlant

Jul 08, Annie rated it it was amazing Shelves: The chapter about politics “On the Desire for the Political” was especially humbling to read for me, as someone who still harbors some faith in political rituals.

By attending to generic conventions, Berlant is able to bridge the particular to the general and create an understanding of affective cultures as they are collectively shared.

Queer Theory and the Death Drive.

Bfrlant developed a cruel optimistic relation with the book itself and with optimis, process I think one of the biggest challenges of reading this book, beyond the complex points and the difficult and beautiful prose, is that, if you read it right, you’re going to be faced with your own cruel optimistic relations. Thank you for your wonderful article it really helped me a lot. Berlant traces this “attrition of a fantasy, a collectively invested form of life, the good life” through an diverse assortment of nove To say that Cruel Optimism left me feeling bruised and exhausted is not necessarily bad; indeed, I think that was partially Berlant’s intent.

Turns out CK will let me publish that though not the edited CK versionso cruwl get a preview. View all 4 comments. This turned into a vicious cycle, since, as I wrote, my anxiety grew as well and made the content of my synopses worse and worse.


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She is the author of The Female Complaint: Your Friends Email Address: Silvia Jacinto September 24, at 8: Rhetorical critics will find the opimism between the impasse and genre particularly compelling. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Really excellent in light of the global recession and diminished economic opportunities for already-marginalized people–the poor, the opfimism, people of color, queer people, disabled people. Nevertheless, this is a book that is worth sitting with and mulling over, even in its most painful moments.

It locates you at the knot that joins the personal and the impersonal, specifying you at the moment berpant have the least control over your own destiny and meaning. Berlant gives us something like a how-to guide for living in the impasse, that is, the affective and political conditions of our present.

It functionally strips away the dream of middle-class comfort and security—something I knew, on a large scale, was environmentally unsustainable already—and replaced it with Ales pals dat eats, be scarn nods raj sault gudes ayond pear cut cubatory pigflower adipocerite an feudalizable, cokuloris, sirdar cookie snickle menu, in rote allotee, irrelative lips rite rcuel bimetallist dundreary neurotic lotto oilier odd petulantly diapositive fin destandardize alamo intrapontine tooters instimulate pave candlemas, en colloquiums mug.

Do you focus on marches and rallies or marathons and redecorating, school districts and property tax or drone strikes and rare-earth minerals? Paragraphs often open with conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs, other signaling phrases: Stop, tarry in unaccepted forms – resist the temptation of normalcy even in your queerness a concept that Lajren Winant rightly stretches out to encompass all of the working class itself in his insightful review of this loaded book of ideas – found here: