Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Jonathan Cutler

Major

Sociology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

In an ever-mediated social world, it seems nothing is “real” anymore; no one cares about knowing what’s under the surface or behind the screen. What’s more, people are becoming too selfish to be able to form the relationships that matter most to our social world – those that demand that we put ourselves at risk, that we sacrifice, that we care about others’ depths and hold ourselves accountable for them. It’s platforms like Seeking Arrangement that are to blame, whose facilitation of marketized sex threatens to distort the social ethic altogether. Indeed, what could be more disruptive to the social than the desire to relate in a market, or (god forbid) the pleasure that might come from it? Upon closer consideration, the deluge of moral and affectual responses to Seeking Arrangement may offer privileged insight into the social world and the violence that holds it in place. It's in reading against the uproar surrounding Seeking Arrangement – against the normative underpinnings of critical and redemptive arguments alike – that we might glean something of social collectivity and the imperialism it propagates. As antisocial and psychoanalytic meditations on relationality suggest, it seems there’s unseen political value in sugaring’s short-lived transactions – whose impersonalizing of social bonds may potentiate an exciting alternative to the violence of intersubjectivity.

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