chapter  2
30 Pages

Much of Madness and More of Sin Compassion, for Ligeia

A recent Republican Party platform announces compassion within the limits of rule-following as the spirit of American moral progress and the key to sound social reform. The territory charted and claimed in this document is what Lauren Berlant calls “the intimate public sphere,” the ideology that “recognizes a public good only in a particularly constricted nation of simultaneously lived private worlds.”2 Berlant argues that representations of pain play a special role in reproducing intimate public social relations: public outcry in response to the evidence that injustice hurts simultaneously produces a sense of shared concern for the common weal and prevents politi­ cized, movement-building work in the service of securing it.