2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Should the failure to give an account of oneself be used as an explanation for violent behaviour? Explore this in relation to the television series ‘You’.

Emily Grace Marshall, 2022, Stage 3

In this essay, I explore if a failure to give an account of oneself should be used as an explanation for violent behaviour, with reference to the Netflix television series ‘You’. I reference Butler’s account of oneself, where we will often face opacity as we come across barriers in our own self-narration. This occurs because we are not in control of our narrative origins, nor the social norms that were shaped by a pre-existing society. I also reference Laplanche’s enigmatic demand of the Other, where we possess a radical dependence on our caregivers from the moment we are born and discover that we are vulnerable to them. I also reference Levinas’ face-to-face relation with the Other, where we are met with the unavoidable face of the Other, and we must recognise our inherent responsibility to appeal to their presence, with an obligation to live a life of peaceful pacifism. However, the fictional serial killer Joe Goldberg subverts the notion of non-violence as he suffers with numerous neurological disorders and is unable to give an account of himself due to his traumatic and neglectful childhood, whereby his psyche protected his egoistic sense of self through repression.

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