Obsessional subjectivity in societies of discipline and control
(2017) Theory and Psychology, 27 (5), pp. 622-642.
Drawing on the work of the later Foucault, especially that concerning disciplinary power and bio-power, as well as Deleuze on the emergence of “societies of control,” this article traces the trajectory of obsessional subjectivity from its emergence as a firmly psychiatric category within a disciplinary matrix (i.e., monomania) toward its contemporary position within the bio-political sphere (i.e., obsessional neurosis and obsessive–compulsive disorder) in societies of control. It is argued—pursuant to Lacanian formulations—that obsessional neurosis simultaneously contributes to the efficacy of the workings of bio-power in imagining, vis-à-vis university discourse, a psychologized and psycho-biographical subject knowable and traceable, while also conferring an openness in being that would surmount the dysfunctionality inhering in repetitious thinking and doubt. The aim of this essay is to discern the structural dimensions of mechanisms of obsessional subjection as they implicate certain changing forms of power, and specifically that of our current predicament in the West, in a world where desire and the production of knowledge are governed through bio-power. © 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.
consciousness; history; philosophy; psychotherapy; theory