But as there is no collective life without norms, the question isn’t how to become post-normative as such but how to respond to the urgency to engender other kinds of anchors or magnets for new social relations and modes of life. The psychoanalysts talk about the inevitability of “taking up a position” within a normative structure but in my view the project of detaching from toxic norms that bind the social to itself in its dominant mode reveals how dynamic the normative reproduction of life is both in subjective and structural terms. Bifo Berardi talks about neoliberalism as a response to increasingly powerful demands by workers for social equality and democracy (and there is no equality in capitalist terms); likewise the “culture wars” are responses to the emancipatory activity of people of color, migrants, and sexualized subjects. All of those responses have had serious structural consequences politically and economically and in the sensoriums of the beings affected by them. So it matters to fight for better normative representations of the social, not just because they provide the affective satisfaction of being-in-common but because they affect the very infrastructure that organizes time, health, care, intimacy

from Depressive Realism: An Interview with Lauren Berlant


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