Joussiance as an ecstasy of escape: Refrain in the academy

Year: 2016

Author: Charteris, Jennifer, Nye, Adele, Jones, Marguerite

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In feminist scholarship, the Lacanian concept of jouissance encapsulates affective flows felt in both body and mind (Khasnabish, 2006). Drawing from feminist poststructural scholarship, the researchers consider how happiness can be conceived as a narrowly prescribed aspect of biopower in the academy. It can be a disciplinary technique that is associated with a discourse of responsibilisation (Rose, 2003) where individuals ‘work on themselves’ (Ahmed, 2010). Rejecting forms of happiness that can be aligned with biopower advanced for the interests of neoliberalism, an engagement is proposed with the affective intensities of jouissance as a contentious ecstasy of escape and deterritorialization. This deterritorialization can be seen as a refrain – an affective choreography that serves to enter and exit territory that is “bursting with boundless energy… leaking out from every side, like an overflowing vase” (de Miranda, 2013, p. 107). Taking up the notion of lines, we highlight the potential of Deleuzoguattarian philosophy to set us free to engage in a dynamic exploration of our political milieu. Deleuze (1989) makes the point that people wrongly consider that philosophy is “pre-existent, ready-made in a prefabricated sky” (p. 268), rather than produced through socio-material assemblages. In this vein, we engender “a practice of concepts” to consider refrains in the academy that ruptures simplistic conceptions of happiness.