Troubled Pleasures: Writings on Politics, Gender, and Hedonism

Front Cover
Verso, 1990 - Social Science - 294 pages
What happens when 'life's simple joys' become complicated? When pleasure is transformed as a function of consumption, the innocent comforts of food, nature and place are embedded in complex practices of distribution and exploitation. Exotic and diverse objects of pleasure are made available only at the price of a heightened awareness of their origins, genealogies and possible effects; 'authenticity' recedes behind objects produced as pleasures.

Troubled Pleasures considers the ways in which modern pleasure is fraught with unhappy implications, at the same time as contemporary critical arguments put into question the touchstones of identity, morality, subjectivity and desire. It brings together writings which explore the sources of pleasure's 'loss of innocence', and which argue the case for a scrupulous 'alternative hedonism'. Including essays on human needs, socialism and gender, a feminist response to Joyce's Ulysses, and a fictional reflection on appetite and excess, Troubled Pleasures plots an Epicurean path between righteous asceticism and conspicuous consumption.
 

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Contents

Part One Towards a New Hedonism
21
Rethinking Ourselves
23
Who Needs Socialism?
45
A Difference of Needs
71
Part Two Morals Politics and the Subject
87
The Socialist Humanism of E P Thompson
89
Marxism and Morality
126
Constructa ergo sum?
146
Patchwork Dragon Power?
165
The Qualities of Simone de Beauvoir
175
Feminism as Critique
197
Feminism Humanism Postmodernism
228
Stephen Heroine
246
Part Four Elkes Testimony
269
Index
290
Copyright

PART THREE Feminist Frontiers
163

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About the author (1990)

Kate Soper teaches philosophy and cultural theory at the University of North London. Her previous works include On Human Needs, What is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-Human and, with Verso, Troubled Pleasures.

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