On utopia and individualism.
Renowned intellectual historian and critic Russell Jacoby joins us to talk about his lifetime of left critique. We discuss his early criticisms of psychology in light of the advance of therapy culture over the past 50 years, before moving on to the question of utopianism.
Will the breakdown of the neoliberal era lead to new utopian thinking? Does enthusiasm for a universal basic income signal serious thinking about the nature of work? Or are we still in a world where only dystopian thinking is permitted?
The episode concludes by discussing how all the talk of diversity today obscures the reality of increasing homogeneity. What does this say about the individual? Is the way children are brought up today killing the capacity for imagination and making us all conformists?
Part two of the interview, and our After Party, is available at patreon.com/bungacast
Selected books by Jacoby:
- Social Amnesia: A Critique of Contemporary Psychology (Beacon Press, 1975; Transaction, 1997)
- The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe (Basic Books, 1987; new edition with new Introduction, Basic Books 2000)
- The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in the Age of Apathy (Basic Books, 1999)
- Picture Imperfect: Utopian Thought for an Anti-Utopian Age (Columbia University Press, 2005)
- On Diversity: The Eclipse of the Individual in a Global Era (Seven Stories Press, 2020)
Other recent articles and interviews:
- D’une pensée critique sous emprise – Un entretien avec Russell Jacoby, Comptoir
- A Climate of Fear, Russell Jacoby, Harper’s
- The Takeover, Russell Jacoby, Tablet