, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 149–169 | Cite as

Nietzsche on cultural convalescence

  • Jeffrey Jackson
Original Article


A key problem for modern social theory is the question of how singularity is possible for radically socialized subjects. This article focuses on Nietzsche's notion of convalescence as offering a coherent approach to this problem. For Nietzsche, the convalescent undergoes a sustained, suffered detachment from the idealistic culture of ressentiment that deprives her of her singularity. A brief comparison of convalescence to the Freudian notion of the work of mourning helps to clarify the suffered nature of the slow bit by bit decathexis from the internalized remnants of ressentiment. This helps to illuminate the significance of the performative drama of Zarathustra's convalescence, and reveals shortcomings of dominant philosophical readings of Nietzsche – specifically those of Derrida and Deleuze – that abstract from the suffered ordeal of the convalescent who finds her singularity only to the extent that she concretely and continually works herself out of the internalized and external forms of coercive culture.


convalescence mourning Freud Nietzsche Derrida Deleuze 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.Social Sciences, University of Houston – DowntownHoustonUSA

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