At first glance, desire and value appear to be opposites. While the former aims at the personal and intimate, the latter describes abstract judgment. But the opposition becomes fragile as soon as we discover in desire the constant upvaluing and devaluing of others, and in value the incessant, affect-laden game of evaluations. Jule Govrin's brilliant essay Desirable asks how desire permeates economic value systems, and how economic valuation patterns are inscribed in a subtle way in social relationships and self-perceptions – in semantics of self-worth, in the search for unique selling points to set oneself apart from others. The foray through the present is accompanied by detours into the history of capitalism and sexuality to show how desire is tied to commodities, people, and values. In the triangle of value, desire, and authenticity, Desirable fathoms the matrix of our present – and at the same time points to the vanishing point of an emancipatory perspective in the desire for different, solidary ways of relating that unites all.
Jule Govrin is a political philosopher researching the political dimension of bodies and desire as a transformative force at the intersection of feminist philosophy, political theory, social philosophy, and aesthetics. Most recently published by Matthes & Seitz Berlin: Political Bodies (2022).