Eli Zaretsky

Eli ZaretskyEli Zaretsky is a professor of history at the New School for Social Research in New York. His books include Political Freud and Why America Needs a Left.

From The Blog
20 February 2024

Not for the first time, there is a crisis in Jewish identity. Many Jews, including myself, abhor Israel’s current policies, the occupation, the dispossession and many other aspects of the Zionist project. And yet, they want also to affirm their identity as Jews. This suggests there is a conflict at the centre of Jewishness itself.

From The Blog
2 November 2023

Any reference to the current world situation – war, climate change, Trumpism and so on – forces one to ask whether Habermasian critical theory and its contemporary successors have not lost touch with the fundamental violence and irrationality built into capitalism, an insight that was crucial to critical theory until the 1970s.

From The Blog
28 December 2022

By foregrounding the sexual relations and fantasies among and between the staff and the guests, The White Lotus analyses capitalism not only as a system of race and class hierarchies, but also as a libidinal economy. There is a further twist to this. Hotels, like the entire luxury sector, work by anticipating and calibrating what customers desire. TV viewers are also ‘guests’ – consumers of a quasi-luxury product (HBO). A show like The White Lotus is not only a lens; it is also a mirror.

From The Blog
18 May 2022

According to Aristotle, we cannot understand something unless we understand what causes it, but ‘cause’ for Aristotle was a complex, multi-layered concept. In the case of the present war between Ukraine and Russia, Aristotle would have described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the efficient cause – the immediate precipitant – but would have argued that a fuller understanding must include the material history of Europe; the form given to that history by the Second World War and its long aftermath, which left the US in effective control of the continent; and the overall or final direction of history at stake in the conflict. I want to focus here on the form given to the conflict by America’s preponderant role in European politics.

From The Blog
15 February 2021

Like most bullies, Trump favours hitting people when they are down. Understanding his deployment of sadism is fundamental to understanding his appeal. He brought together large numbers of people who would have liked to lash out, but didn’t have the courage. He made them feel that their anger and contempt – whatever its source – was legitimate. And, very importantly, he convinced people viscerally that the norms of civilised society were part of a rigged system.

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