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Beyond the Pleasure Principle, “‘A Child Is Being Beaten’” and the scenography of fantasy: boutique ultraliberalism in a Brazilian moral panic

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Abstract

Commemorating the centenary of Beyond the Pleasure Principle, this article reads Freud’s essay alongside the contemporaneous “‘A Child Is Being Beaten’” in order to develop a theory of fantasy as the compulsive repetition of variations of a scene. Extending Berlant’s (2014b) analysis, the theory of scenic fantasy developed herein rivals left Lacanian approaches and better explains moral panics, such as the one around Queermuseu, a Brazilian art exhibit that provoked protest by the ultraliberal Movimento Brasil Livre and elements of the New Right.

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Acknowledgments

This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Brasil, Finance Code 001. For comments on previous versions, I am grateful to two anonymous reviewers and fellow participants in the “What after Beyond…?” workshop in New York, especially the organizer Rosaura Martínez, my fellow panelists Andrew Parker and Penelope Deutscher, and Judith Butler, Jay Bernstein, Lisa Baraitser, and Alessia Ricciardi.

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Correspondence to Jimmy Casas Klausen.

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Klausen, J.C. Beyond the Pleasure Principle, “‘A Child Is Being Beaten’” and the scenography of fantasy: boutique ultraliberalism in a Brazilian moral panic. Psychoanal Cult Soc 25, 537–557 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-020-00199-w

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