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Liberation hurts: violence, masochism and anti-capitalism according to Pasolini

Vighi, Fabio ORCID: 2007. Liberation hurts: violence, masochism and anti-capitalism according to Pasolini. Italian Studies 62 (1) , pp. 61-77. 10.1179/007516307X174856

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Drawing on Lacanian psychoanalysis, this article looks at Pier Paolo Pasolini's critique of capitalist ideology by attempting to unravel the deepest libidinal kernel of his controversial positions. While Pasolini is often perceived as a Frankfurt-School type of intellectual intent on dissecting the contradictions of contemporary Western societies (and, for many, as falling prey to these contradictions himself), I argue that there is another way of approaching the core of his engagement, one which emphasises Pasolini's uncompromising determination to identify the breaking point of ideology through a complex strategy involving the staging of masochism. The prospect of liberation from a given power mechanism can only emerge, according to Pasolini, after the subject has become aware of the obscene pleasure he or she derives from being caught in such a mechanism. Through references to key films such as Salò and Medea, the article shows how, in Pasolini's universe, 'liberation hurts', since it implies the traumatic assumption of the unconscious attachment to that from which the subject wishes to be emancipated.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Publisher: Maney Publishing
ISSN: 0075-1634
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 08:51

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