Nydelig dovenskab: En undersøgelse af kapitalisme, stigmatisering og etik

Søren Stevnsgaard Rasmussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis explores the concepts of capitalism, stigmatization, adaptation and ethics, in relation to concepts of desire, enjoyment, cynicism and the unconscious, derived from psychoanalysis. The context for the thesis is, that there is an increased focus in society towards consuming and enjoying and, at the same time, a focus on political correctness and tolerance towards minorities. The theory behind these ideas is, that these two fields of attention tend to work against each other, with consumption being the cause of a stigmatization, and political correctness seeking to prevent the same stigmatization. This seems to create a mismatch in ethical focus or, in the words of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, an ethical illusion. With an overall focus on stigmatization, the investigation explores two different cases. The first case involves a native community in the north of Canada, threatened by a forthcoming expansion of a major oil refinery. The second case involves an unemployed citizen, who recently publicly declared, that he doesn't want to work in return for his social welfare. On the basis of these two cases, the thesis aims to show how 1) the concept of stigmatization and ethics has changed in a modern capitalistic economy, and 2) how this calls for a different way of thinking ethics, in relation to helping minorities out of their position as being marginalized or stigmatized. The result of the investigation shows how modern society, in it's transformation from a focus on a religious ethos to a focus on accumulation of capital, lacks an overall ethos, and therefore, makes it easier to stigmatize minorities, and in a more subtle way. At the same time the investigation shows, how a sudden 'happening' in society can change the rhetorical approach on political correctness, making already stigmatized people become even more stigmatized. It also shows how this happening can serve as a foundation for a new critical thinking, from outside of the system. The ethical outcome of the happening is determined, not by the happening in itself but by how the happening is capable of making society think about it's own lack of ethical thinking. If successful, a new ethical thinking is developed, that can work towards helping these stigmatized minorities out of their current situation.

EducationsMSc in Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages82