In Baudelaire and Freud (1977), Leo Bersani posits that psychoanalysis offers a way of understanding sexuality as characterized by the mobility of fantasy, rather than by the content of fetishes or sexual identities, and that this mobility offers the “potential for explosive displacements.” This short meditation explores how mobility as a concept, understood in Bersani’s sense, helps us think beyond some of the paradoxes, redundancies, and aporias in both psy science and queer theoretical models of sexuality. The essay closes by showing how Bersani returned to “mobility” in Homos (1995) and argues that, via this concept, he suggests ways that queer theory itself can avoid becoming a “new normativity.”
lisa downing is Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality at the University of Birmingham, uk. She is the author of numerous books including, most recently, Selfish Women (Routledge, 2019). She is currently writing a monograph-manifesto titled Against Affect and editing a special issue of the journal Paragraph on the subject of critical freedoms.
Lisa Downing; Im/mobility. differences 1 May 2023; 34 (1): 150–155. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-10435702
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