Tyranny of Choice: How We Become Who We Are

Renata Salecl is Centennial Professor at the department of law at the London School of Economics. She is also Senior Researcher at the Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana, Slovenia and also often teaches at Visiting Professor at Cardozo School of Law in New York. She directs a research project on Crime in Postmodern Times at the Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law in Ljubljana. Her work focuses on bringing together law, criminology and psychoanalysis.

In this lecture, Salecl discusses her book in progress, an analysis into why late capitalist insistence on choice increases feelings of anxiety and guilt. “In the Western world,” Salecl writes, “people are not only under the impression that there are endless possibilities to find fulfillment in life, but they are also encouraged to be some kind of self-creators, i.e., they are supposedly free to choose what they want to be. In this highly industrialized society, which allegedly gives priority to the individual’s freedoms over submission to group causes, people, however, face an important anxiety-provoking dilemma: “Who Am I for Myself?”

This lecture aired on WBUR, New England’s largest public radio station on March 23, 2008. We are grateful to WBUR for making the recording available to EU for You.

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