Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Krce-Ivančić, M. (2021). The Knowledge of Pessimism. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 17(1), 471–490.

Open access

Leaving a well-trodden path of conflating pessimism with a favourite pastime of those who take pleasure in coming up with aporetic riddles, the article gives the knowledge of pessimism the attention it deserves. Pessimism endorses us to confront and express our existence without anxiously paying respect to the imperative of progress. The knowledge of pessimism is here for us to express rather than resolve our existence, thus claiming our freedom of thought. The article first outlines pessimism and its commitments. It then proceeds to propose the understanding of suffering as an underlying condition of our existence that allows the self to confront a discourse by which it has been constituted. Finally, showing that the imperative of progress is embedded in grant application forms, the article demonstrates one of the mechanisms by which the knowledge of pessimism is excluded from the contemporary university.

Anxiety, Existence, Freedom, Pessimism, Progress, Suffering

Author Biography
Matko Krce-Ivančić, Most recent affiliation: Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Matko Krce-Ivančić has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. His primary interest is in exploring the relation of subjectivity and politics, where power is understood to be constitutive for our subjectivity. Krce-Ivančić’s article ‘Governing Through Anxiety’, in which anxiety is explored using psychoanalytic theory to extend Foucault’s conceptualisation of neoliberal governmentality, is published in Journal for Cultural Research (2018). His chapter ‘Neoliberal Subjectivity at the Political Frontier’, providing a critique of Laclau’s model of emancipation by emphasising the importance of neoliberal subjectivity, is a part of The Late Foucault. Ethical and Political Questions (ed. by Faustino, M. and Ferraro, G.) that is published by Bloomsbury (2020).

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