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Spinoza’s Ethics of Affirmation by Lou Mycroft


In this presentation, I’ll use Spinoza’s ethics of affirmation to explore my academic journey from bright adopted working class girl, through the onset of crippling impostor syndrome and hedonistic dropout, to life as a Deleuzian nomad in pestilent times.

It maps out some of the terrain I navigated, the wrong turnings I took, the mountains, impossible rivers, marshland, hidden depths and – yes – dragons I encountered. Could I have guessed during the years which formed my early political education in the South Yorkshire coalfield (1979-1985) that I would find a design for life in impenetrable French theory? Well, no. But so it turned out.

The presentation will consider lived affirmative ethics, breaking free of monuments and documents, constellations and lines of flight and whether it’s ever possible (or indeed desirable) to break free of what you once were. And, terrifyingly, it will conclude by making a strong case for why it’s ok to like avocados, Pilates and good red wine and still be just as ‘working-class’ as you ever were.

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