No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Series Q) Kindle Edition
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Closely engaging with literary texts, Edelman makes a compelling case for imagining Scrooge without Tiny Tim and Silas Marner without little Eppie. Looking to Alfred Hitchcock’s films, he embraces two of the director’s most notorious creations: the sadistic Leonard of North by Northwest, who steps on the hand that holds the couple precariously above the abyss, and the terrifying title figures of The Birds, with their predilection for children. Edelman enlarges the reach of contemporary psychoanalytic theory as he brings it to bear not only on works of literature and film but also on such current political flashpoints as gay marriage and gay parenting. Throwing down the theoretical gauntlet, No Future reimagines queerness with a passion certain to spark an equally impassioned debate among its readers.
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From Publishers Weekly
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From the Back Cover
- ASIN : B00EHBSNK2
- Publisher : Duke University Press Books (December 6, 2004)
- Publication date : December 6, 2004
- Language : English
- File size : 6404 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 206 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0822333694
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #774,996 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Edelman makes a compelling case for refusing the "futurity" built into the rhetoric not just of conservative politics but also much of liberal or progressive politics. He acknowledges that in calling for this refusal, he is proposing an "impossible politics," a politics that will sidestep the trap by which one or another group (queers or an equivalent population deemed deviant) has to be sold down the river in order to rally everyone else around future improvement and greater inclusion. This is also an "impossible politics" because it won't suppress the death drive that structures every identity or political vision (this is the Lacanian part of the argument).
But once you stipulate that any and every kind of politics (except Edelman's impossible politics) is built on suppressing the death drive, you have painted yourself into a corner--an impossible politics, indeed. Once Edelman has shifted the site of politics to the deep structure of the human psyche in this way, It's hard to see how one could think or act in any purposeful way that might count as political. There is only the act of refusing, but no hope or even historical possibility for imagining social and power arrangements that operate otherwise. In the meantime, political change will happen, for better or worse, and those who refuse have just taken themselves out of the game, and also limited their ability to even diagnose the change that happens.
What is missing is any speculation from Edelman about what his politics of refusal would amount to, how it might play out in the world to affirm rather than suppress or deny the death drive. Other theorists have taken up the challenge of thinking about how we might act or at least think politically once we give up the idea of a self-directing political actor and a self-governing political society. But Edelman seems content to plant himself at the paradox of an "impossible politics" and expose the delusions and ill will that suddenly come into view from that standpoint. The book is brave and often brilliant, but I find I want to refuse the impossibility of this picture of impossible politics.
Overall, his argument is a great example of highlighting the limits of Lacanian logic. Beyond that stylistic inquiry, we're left with an unsubstantial exploration of "straight time" vs "queer time" and a polemic reading of American politics.
By James Winchell on August 8, 2015