A Nobel Peace Prize for Sublimation

I originally wrote the following in October 2012, just after the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union makes the most sense when you consider the front-runners, which included Julian Assange. No sensible person can deny that the European Union has done more on the ground for peace than whatever Assange’s cyber-gestures are supposed to point toward. Still, it does make you wonder what ‘peace’ means these days. After all, a not unreasonable interpretation of the postwar European project has been to sublimate military conflict into economic struggle. Put that way, we are presented with a neo-liberal wet dream of world peace, which continues to make life difficult for people but without explicitly destroying the ‘human capital’ contained in their bodies. Indeed, with a bit of luck, these subtly tortured bodies – through loss of welfare benefits or endless demands for ‘upskilling’ – might actually enhance the value of their capital through some mysterious feat of ‘entrepreneurship.’


Categories: Committing Sociology, Higher Education, Outflanking Platitudes, Rethinking The World, Social Theory, Sociologists of Crisis

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