Clean, Death, Revolt


death drive
late stage capitalism
politics of intimacy


The global compulsion to ‘get clean’ has never been more palpable. This discourse of quarantine, as I call it, has mistakenly relied on a form of biopolitics in order to achieve this end. In doing so, the trademarks of subjection, those like docility, internalization, and self-policing, have reached a heightened state in functioning to keep the ‘psychosis of dirt’ at bay. Relying on the archaeology of critical psychology and psychoanalysis, I hope to show that playing in the dirt does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. In fact, it may even be the case that being dirty establishes bonds of closeness, affinity, and communion. Julia Kristeva (2014) goes so far to suggest that being dirty in this way - integrating those aesthetic forms of abjection - organizes new political action, what she calls a politics of intimacy or a sensual politics. With the rallying cry Revolt! we are reminded of the work that needs to be done in order to better understand the destructive and threatening potential of the negative, bound up in the word dirt as well as others, and invited to refine and embrace this power.

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