It’s Not Youth, It’s Us. Youth Suicides and Rosi Braidotti’s Post-human Ethics

    • Lucca November 2017
    • Presentation speakers
      • Saskia Kroonenberg, Philosophy and Italian Literary Studies, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands


    This paper starts from the alarmingly high suicide numbers amongst the youth in current Western societies, arguing that feelings of loneliness and personal responsibility of our hyper-individualistic neoliberal societies are taking their tolls. This phenomenon sheds a worrisome light on our present-day world: if the youth doesn’t want to live in it, is there a future? It will be argued that, contrary to regular medical interpretations which address suicidal behaviour and depression as individual dysfunctioning (usually to be resolved with expensive medication) we actually have to do with a collective problem: our disturbed relation with the world we live in, the lack of perspectives for the future. In other words, the depression of the youth is indicative of our times: lonely, individualistic times on a planet that might not subsist due to climate change. Offering an alternative way of relating ourselves to the world, the work of Rosi Braidotti will be examined. Starting from the premise that we live in the Anthropocene – the epoch in which humanity affects the global ecological system – she argues for a radically relational subjectivity. Not only is one in related to other humans; non-humans, like animals, the earth and technological artefacts, are also included. Leaving behind old dualisms like ‘nature’ vs. ‘culture’, or ‘the natural’ vs. ‘the technological’, Braidotti takes the next step in rethinking ‘who we are becoming today’. She argues for a monist ontology, in the sense of all matter being one, and a multiplicity of beings we should relate ourselves to. Radical or alienating as her ideas may seem, Braidotti’s main goal is to creatively open up new joyful perspectives. As Guattari and Deleuze argued: the task of philosophy is to invent new ways of thinking. Indeed, this is what the next generations are in need of the most: not pills, but new explorations of subjectivity – new perspectives on who they/we can become.