‘Love Thy Neighbor as You Love Thyself!’ by Alenka Zupančič


The project Critical Re-examination of Law hosted prof. Alenka Zupančič in Skopje on 13 February, for giving a public lecture titled Love Thy Neighbor as You Love Thyself. With prof. Zupančič’s lecture started the program of the project for the summer semester (2019).

The introductory note was given by prof. Ljubomir Frčkoski.

Reference to Christianity and to Christian tradition is one of the key ingredients of the expending right-wing identity politics in Europe (and more largely, in the West), including its more or less explicit nationalism and racism. The commandment to love your Neighbour as yourself obviously presents this politics with a problem and necessitates a severe (re)interpretation of its meaning. The lecture will look into some examples of this interpretational work, and into how it affects the figure of the Neighbour. At the same time, it will interrogate reasons for which Freud has found this commandment to be at the very core of what he called “discontent” (Unbehagen) in our “civilisation” (Kultur). What is this aggressiveness that tends to emerge together with the figure of the Neighbour, as inseparable from it? To answer this question, the lecture will take recourse to the (Lacanian) psychoanalysis – not in order to steer away from the political dimension of the question, but on the contrary to help us work our way back to its political dimension.

Alenka Zupančič is a Slovene philosopher and social theorist. She works as research advisor at the Institute of Philosophy, Scientific Research Center of the Slovene Academy of Sciences. She is also professor at the European Graduate School in Switzerland, and at the Graduate School ZRC SAZU (Ljubljana). She is the author of numerous articles and books on psychoanalysis and philosophy, including Ethics of the Real: Kant and Lacan; The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche’s Philosophy of the Two; Why Psychoanalysis: Three Interventions; The Odd One In: On Comedy; and, most recently, What is Sex?