Giving an account of the queer subject : plasticity, psychoanalysis, and queer theory

Washington, Michael (2017) Giving an account of the queer subject : plasticity, psychoanalysis, and queer theory. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


The aim of this thesis will be to ask what is the relationship betweeen the concept of plasticity and queer theoretical discourse? Plasticity being, at its most basic level, the idea that difference itself can change form, that it does not just manifest spatially and temporally within acts of inscription, but also within material forms as well. The thesis will attempt to show that what is at work inherently within both discourse (both at the level of logic and objects of analysis) allows for them to speak alongside one another, and even if placed in close enough proximity, to provoke transformations in the other in productive and generative ways. The central claim that will be defended throughout the thesis is that the concept of plasticity has deep and profound implications for queer theory. It will attempt to reveal and explore the ways in which both are committed to thinking change and transformation within a form in ways that implicate the other. The analysis of the relation between the two will be divided into three moments of encounter in which the resonance between both discourses could be seen to be most generative and productive, these staged encounters compromising the three main sections of the thesis: plasticity's relation to the theory performativity, its relation to the anti-social turn within queer thought, and its relation to the affective turn within queer theory. The overall objective will be to demonstrate not only the philosophical underpinnings that animate queer theory, but also the ways in which philosophy itself has been marked and changed by certain interventions of queer thought.

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