Autofiction of the Cognitariat: Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog
Artists and intellectuals living in precarious conditions (or: belonging to the cognitariat), find themselves at the crossroad between precarity and privilege. Julian Radlmaier’s Selbstkritik eines bürgerlichen Hundes (Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog GER, 2017) deals with this issue in a very explicit, self-reflexive way. Its protagonist is a filmmaker on the dole who is sent by the German workfare program to work seasonally as an apple picker. Once at the orchard, when the other workers attempt a revolt, he discovers that his attachment to his status as an artist impedes him to join their struggle. The autofictional form of the film, I demonstrate, reflects a subjectivation dynamic that turns into a spiral of perceived debt, guilt, and political paralysis. By internalizing
a widespread anti-intellectual bias, the film offers a paradigmatic account of why it is difficult for members of the cognitariat to solidarize with other segments of the precariat or the working class: the difficulty depends largely on the internalization of neoliberal capitalism’s ambivalent consideration of immaterial, cognitive, and creative work.
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