By applying psychoanalytic perspectives to key themes, concepts, and practices underlying the development enterprise, Confronting Desire offers a new way of analyzing the problems, challenges, and potentialities of international development. Ilan Kapoor makes a compelling case for examining development's unconscious desires and in the process inaugurates a new field of study: psychoanalytic development studies.
Drawing from the work of Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek, as well as from psychoanalytic postcolonial and feminist scholarship, Kapoor analyzes how development's unconscious desires "speak out," most often in excessive and unpredictable ways that contradict the outwardly rational declarations of its practitioners. He investigates development's many irrationalities—from obsessions about growth and poverty to the perverse seductions of racism and over-consumption. By deploying key psychoanalytic concepts—enjoyment, fantasy, antagonism, fetishism, envy, drive, perversion, and hysteria—Confronting Desire critically analyzes important issues in development—growth, poverty, inequality, participation, consumption, corruption, gender, "race," LGBTQ politics, universality, and revolution.
Confronting Desire offers prescriptions for applying psychoanalysis to development theory and practice and demonstrates how psychoanalysis can provide fertile ground for radical politics and the transformation of international development.
Part One: Introduction and Context
1. Psychoanalysis and International Development
2. Post-Development's Surrender to Global Capitalism: A Psychoanalytic Critique Part Two: Keywords/Essays
3. Antagonism: The Universalist Dimensions of Antagonism
4. Drive: What "Drives" Capitalist Development?
5. Envy: Capitalism as Envy-Machine
6. Fetishism: Fetishism in International Development: Domination, Disavowal, and Foreclosure
7. Gaze: The "Gaze" in Participatory Development: Panoptic or Traumatic?
8. Gender/Sex: When Sex = (Socially Constructed) Gender, What Is Lost, Politically? Psychoanalytic Reflections on Gender and Development
9. Perversion/Hysteria: The Politics of Perversion and Hysteria in the Tunisian Revolution and its Aftermath
10. Queerness: The Queer Third World
11. Racism: The Racist Enjoyments and Fantasies of International Development
12. Symptom: Development and the Poor: Enjoy Your Symptom!
Ilan Kapoor is a professor of environmental studies at York University. He is the author of Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity and The Postcolonial Politics of Development.