Eric Peter: Poetry’s Language of Intimacy: Economies of Power, Publics, and Performance


Advisor/tutor: Rachel O’Reilly

Arnhem, June 2019


We engage in an economy based on the logic of permanent growth, and an associated ideology of self-improvement in material and financial spheres that eschews non-capitalist spirituality and, importantly, relation(s). If we are to overhaul the leitmotiv (capitalist) economics has become, we need to start transforming the way we engage with economics through our public and, most pertinently, private lives. If considered in its etymology, the intimati as those we trust and confide in, can have significance in a process of renouncing the Western hegemony of language and knowledge, of print and narrative̶but it is necessary in this thesis to address its lineage, as it has shaped this world and hierarchies of power. Intimacy is ambiguous, since it bears the earmarks of closeness, exclusion and power. To a liberal subject, it has the meaning of privacy, ownership and gendered relations, while it established hierarchies by dispossessing those in the former colonies of these spaces, placing them in a social debt. At the base of these intimacy theories, lay Lowe’s thoughts on the role of intimacy and intimacies in the mercantile history and the residues of oppression to help us reread contemporary economics and its inherent poetics and powers. In this thesis, I write of intimacy through Mitropolous’s theories on economics of the (Ancient Greek) household, through Illouz’s emotional capitalism, and through Warner and Berlant as thinkers of publics. I write of intimacy as oppositional space: where the conditions of the capitalist world are felt, come to surface.