Benjamin Fong has written to us letting us know about the publication of his book, Death and Mastery: Psychoanalytic Drive Theory and the Subject of Capitalism (Columbia University Press, 2016). The book should be of interest to many of our readers as Fong notes that, “the fourth and most important chapter of the book is devoted to Horkheimer and Adorno, and specifically to making sense of the damaged psychic structure of what they call the ‘new anthropological type.'”
Here is the publisher’s blurb:
The first philosophers of the Frankfurt School famously turned to the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud to supplement their Marxist analyses of ideological subjectification. Since the collapse of their proposed “marriage of Marx and Freud,” psychology and social theory have grown apart to the impoverishment of both. Returning to this union, Benjamin Y. Fong reconstructs the psychoanalytic “foundation stone” of critical theory in an effort to once again think together the possibility of psychic and social transformation.
Drawing on the work of Hans Loewald and Jacques Lacan, Fong complicates the famous antagonism between Eros and the death drive in reference to a third term: the woefully undertheorized drive to mastery. Rejuvenating Freudian metapsychology through the lens of this pivotal concept, he then provides fresh perspective on Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse’s critiques of psychic life under the influence of modern cultural and technological change. The result is a novel vision of critical theory that rearticulates the nature of subjection in late capitalism and renews an old project of resistance.