•  1
    Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis
    Columbia University Press. 2019.
    What is behind the upsurge of virulent nationalism and intransigent politics across the globe today? In Fear of Breakdown, Noëlle McAfee contends that politics needs something that only psychoanalysis has been able to offer: an understanding of how to work through anxieties, ambiguity, fragility, and loss.
  •  38
    Emancipation, Progress, Critique: Debating Amy Allen’s The End of Progress
    with Albena Azmanova, Martin Saar, Guilel Treiber, Azar Dakwar, Andrew Feenberg, and Amy Allen
    Contemporary Political Theory 17 (4): 511-541. 2018.
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    Neo-liberalism and other political imaginaries
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 43 (9): 911-931. 2017.
    This article looks at how various political cultures and imaginaries occlude the public’s deeply democratic political role, especially the currently reigning anti-political culture of neo-liberalism. Even in an era when millions of people the world over take to the streets in protest, dominant political imaginaries position most of the world’s people as largely powerless. What is needed is a radical political imaginary along the lines that Cornelius Castoriadis suggests. This imaginary foregroun…Read more
  •  43
    Humanity and the Refugee
    Social Philosophy Today 33 9-26. 2017.
    This paper takes up the questions of how the refugee crisis exhibits the fault lines in what might otherwise seem to be a robust human rights regime and what kinds of ways of seeing and thinking might better attune us to solving these problems. There is surprising agreement internationally on the content of human rights, although there is a huge gulf between international agreements on human rights and the protection of those most vital. The subtitle of the paper, “another stab at universal huma…Read more
  •  20
    Julia Kristeva
    Routledge. 2003.
    One of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century, Julia Kristeva has been driving forward the fields of literary and cultural studies since the 1960s. This volume is an accessible, introductory guide to the main themes of Kristeva's work, including her ideas on: *semiotics and symbolism *abjection *melancholia *feminism *revolt. McAfee provides clear explanations of the more difficult aspects of Kristeva's theories, helpfully placing her ideas in the relevant theoretical context, be it…Read more
  •  34
    Resisting Essence: Kristeva's Process Philosophy
    Philosophy Today 44 (Supplement): 77-83. 2000.
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    Obama’s Call for a More Perfect Union
    Contemporary Pragmatism 8 (2): 57-67. 2011.
    This article considers the speech given by then Senator Barack Obama on race in America, on the collective trauma he is pointing to and the need for working through and what that means in psychoanalytic and pragmatic terms. Though Obama may have only tangentially been alluding to a Freudian notion of working through and probably was not thinking of John Dewey's work, the insights of that speech can be deepened by drawing on both psychoanalytic theory and American pragmatism's attention to transa…Read more
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    Public knowledge
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 30 (2): 139-157. 2004.
    This paper argues that the public can do more than legitimate government; it can provide public knowledge for sound public policy. Critics of democracy worry that the public has too little objectivity and impartiality to know what is best. These critics have a point: taken one by one, people have little knowledge of the whole. For this reason, citizens need to escape the cloisters of kith and kin and enter a world of unlike others. They need to be open to other perspectives and concerns. They ne…Read more
  •  17
    Inner Experience and Worldly Revolt: Arendt’s Bearings on Kristeva’s Project
    Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 22 (2): 26-35. 2014.
    What is at stake when political revolt depends upon radical inner experience? Is the only route to cultural and political change, as Kristeva seems to argue, through personal introspection and revolt? If we want more from life than the freedom to channel surf, as she says, need the direction of inquiry be primarily inward? Need there be an either/or of psychical versus public life? Is the only answer to social and political dead ends really found by turning inward? Is the micropolitics of the co…Read more
  •  10
    Resisting Essence
    Philosophy Today 44 (9999): 77-83. 2000.
    This article considers the ways in which Julia Kristeva's work aligns with process philosophy, resisting the essentialism of substance philosophy.
  •  11
    Feminist Engagements in Democratic Theory
    with Noëulle McAfee and R. Claire Snyder
    Hypatia 22 (4). 2007.
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    Two feminisms
    Journal of Speculative Philosophy 19 (2): 140-149. 2005.
  •  39
    Democracy and the Political Unconscious
    Cambridge University Press. 2008.
    Political philosopher Noelle McAfee proposes a powerful new political theory for our post-9/11 world, in which an old pathology-the repetition compulsion-has manifested itself in a seemingly endless war on terror. McAfee argues that the quintessentially human desire to participate in a world with others is the key to understanding the public sphere and to creating a more democratic society, a world that all members can have a hand in shaping. But when some are effectively denied this participati…Read more
  •  1
    Subjectivity and Citizenship: Habermas and Kristeva on Agency in the Public Sphere
    Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. 1998.
    I address the question of whether certain poststructuralist theories of subjectivity can contribute to Habermas's project of deliberative democracy--whether effective political agency requires that we be the kinds of individuals supposed by the modern liberal tradition or whether effective citizenship is possible under a poststructuralist theory of the subject as an "open system." I find that poststructuralist subjectivities can be effective political agents. ;In part one, I introduce two someti…Read more