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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

A Perversion as the Norm

This quote from Dardot and Laval is perfectly applicable to the father of the neo-Nazi we’ve been discussing:

“The perversion that is clinically characterized by consuming partners like objects, whom one chucks when one finds them inadequate, has arguably become the new norm of social relations”

This father is even more perverse because it’s not a partner but an actual child he chucks off the second he no longer pleases. This is the pinnacle of neoliberal subjectivity.

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10 thoughts on “A Perversion as the Norm

  1. Shakti on said:

    Do you feel the same way about adult children discarding parents? Or siblings who disown each other?

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    • Children might need to sever contacts with parents if there was or is any kind of abuse. Relationships with siblings are a product of parental manipulation, not of consumer choices. The power always resides with the parent. The father of the neo Nazi formed him but not the other way round.

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      • Shakti on said:

        So at what point are you responsible for your own actions without blaming your parents? Or rather, at what point do you relate to your parents or children as adults and not within that parent child relationship?

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        • You are responsible for your actions since reaching adulthood. BUT a parent is obligated to remain a parent always. This means not expecting the children to parent you in old age. Not crossing the line into “a friendship.”

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          • And of course, if your parent always expected free labor and emotional support from you, eventually you have to break the ties if you need energy to invest in a family of your own.

            Shakti – you may be interested in http://www.issendai.com/index.htm

            Their posts on estranged parents and estranged parents forums are good. And their post on “Sick Systems” helped me to realize what a trap my relationship with my mother was.

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  2. There’s a long literature of parents disowning children that predates liberalism, much less neoliberalism. My ex’s family played musical chairs with “who’s in the will, who’s out” for year. One of my friends in high school was disinherited by his orthodox rabbi father for marrying a non-Jewish woman. Families divided over the American Civil War, and some never reconciled. Unless there’s something new here, it’s hard to see how this behavior fits into the neoliberalism argument.

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    • Of course, horrible parents existed always. But what used to be a painful, difficult, and private process is now a showy and flippant discarding of the unwanted object. It’s like divorce or breakup. It always existed in some form but casual dumping of people over text message or social media is new.

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      • I have to say, the church I grew up in was preaching the “tough love” and “difficult necessity” of estrangement from wayward children from the time I was young, well before the age of social media. The estrangement could be because your child became an atheist, an addict, or even just swore a lot and refused to be completely obedient to your rules.

        The same standard did not apply to pedophiles though. Them you were supposed to forgive and provide a “loving church family” to.

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  3. No different than the attitude my late father had toward me.

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