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Spectral Liberalism: On The Subjects Of Political Economy In Moscow, Adam Leeds Jan 2016

Spectral Liberalism: On The Subjects Of Political Economy In Moscow, Adam Leeds

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

The world since 1989 has appeared to many as the “end of history,” a uniform “neoliberalism” underpinned by abstract economic theories. This dissertation, based on two years of fieldwork in among the economists of Moscow (2010–2012), brings the tools of science studies to the social sciences, building on studies of the co-constitution of objects and rationalities of rule to take seriously the local lives of mathematical economics as culture. I offer an approach to the production of liberal political modernity through unpacking how economic knowledge contributes to assembling the object it claims to study—“the economy.” In creating disciplinary ...


Power, Sexuality, And The Masochistic Aesthetic From Sacher-Masoch To Kharms, Maya Vinokour Jan 2016

Power, Sexuality, And The Masochistic Aesthetic From Sacher-Masoch To Kharms, Maya Vinokour

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

This project centers on what I call the “masochistic aesthetic,” which emerged as literature dovetailed with medicine and law in German-speaking Europe and Russia around 1900. I argue that incipient totalitarian societies instrumentalized art and literature to produce citizens who enthusiastically consented to painful social discipline — that is, political masochists. Masochistic narratives like Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs (1870), Anton Chekhov’s The Duel (1891), or Andrei Platonov’s Happy Moscow (1933-6) reflect the ethnographic attention to borderlands, regulation of the body, and indefinite delay of pleasure inherent in the imperial or totalitarian settings that engendered them. After ...