To say that an alienated society needs escapism is a judgment on the society, not the coping methods of its subjects. If anything, escapism shows how imperfectly integrated people are into late capitalism, and the stubborn spark of creativity that illuminates the darkness.
Chapter Five, The uses of escapism
My latest book, released in July 2021 by Routledge, suggests that escapism – the desire to leave one’s physical or emotional circumstances for an ideal alternative – is a way to understand the social conflicts that structure our world. In a wide-ranging discussion that draws on psychology, labour and cultural theory, the book draws on political economy, the Frankfurt School, and contemporary critics to examine how escapism appears in our minds, workplaces and utopian imaginaries from fiction to music. In this study, escapism emerges as a constitutive feature of the late capitalist lifeworld – a feature that must be understood in order to create social change.
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