Capitalism and Schizophrenia – Contemporary Visual Culture and the Acceleration of Identity Formation/Dissolution

My central contention is that late capitalism not only accelerates the flow of capital, but also accelerates the rate at which subjects assume identities. Identity formation is inextricably linked to the urge to consume, and therefore the acceleration of capitalism necessitates an increase in the rate at which individuals assume and shed identities. The internet is one of many late capitalist phenomena that allow for more flexible, rapid, and profitable mechanisms of identity formation.

I focus my discussion of identification by comparing two contradictory texts. The first is the groundbreaking essay by Fredric Jameson, entitled, “Postmodernism and Consumer Society“. The second is Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari‘s controversial book Anti-Oedipus. Jameson’s essay and Anti-Oedipus present two distinct perspectives on how subjects form identities within late capitalism. Although very different, both texts approach identification through an analysis of schizophrenia and capitalism. To further explore these two themes, I place these texts in conversation with each other and with other texts that focus more narrowly on psychoanalytic studies of contemporary visual culture.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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