Libidinal Economies of Crisis Times

Acud Macht Neu (Veteranenstraße 21, 10119 Berlin)
Institut für deutsche Literatur, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
27.09.2019 - 28.09.2019
Gook, Ben

Is a renewed concept of “libidinal economy” becoming visible? The term has appeared in works of various sorts in the past decade: critical political economy; re-engagements with Lyotard’s infamous text; Lacanian psychoanalytic critique; queer theory; critical accounts of sex work; afro-pessimism / anti-blackness; cultural criticism’s fascination with affect; libidinal “ecology.” A whole sweep of thinking, then, about bodies and desire or the psychic life of capitalism. This two day event aims to weave together these threads to see what patterns emerge. If the term in its diffusion is not yet worthy of being a “concept” in the narrow sense, then what would it take to push it to that point – and is that conceptual labour worthy of our attention? The event is curious about the most fruitful inquiries in these various fields, while remaining committed to theoretical pluralism in the name of exploring this manifold and nebulous category. Similarly curious about the sources of the idea’s return, it wants to move beyond the basic observation that the fallout of the financial crisis over the past decade is a leading cause of this interest in the idea. As such, it seeks engagements that demonstrate the virtues of “libidinal economy” for thinking our present and the politics of desire, as well as reflections on “libidinal economy” as a symptomatic category of contemporary thought.


Provisional program (check website for final program prior to event:

Fri 27th
Welcome and introduction

Benjamin Noys
Axioms of Libidinal Economy
Hannah Proctor
Desire: That Obscure Object
Vladimir Safatle
Death drive and the libidinal economy of revolution
Moderator: Gelareh Shahpar

12-1 (lunch)

Kerstin Stakemeier
Unreproductive Desires: sexual liberations from our sexes
Jule Govrin
The political economy of desire in times of multiple crises
Leon Brenner
Vicissitudes of Identification
Moderator: Margret Grebowicz

3-3.30 (caffeine)

Samo Tomsic, Hannah Proctor & Dominiek Hoens
Psychoanalysis and the critique of capitalism

5.30-5.45 (break)

Julie Gaillard (Skype)
Beyond Representation? After Lyotard's libidinal set-ups
Anna Kornbluh (Skype)
Express Yourself
Daniel Tutt (Skype)
Gift Exchange and Historical Invariance: Karatani’s Theory of Exchange and Libidinal Economy
Moderator: Ben Gook

Sat 28th
Dominic Pettman & Merritt Symes (video essay)
Peak Libido
Margret Grebowicz
Mountains and Desire
Ania Malinowska
Desire without another. The expenditure of libidinal intensity under technoculture
Moderator: Jule Govrin

12-1 (lunch)

Jason Read
Negative Solidarity: The Affective Economy in Neoliberalism’s Decline
Todd McGowan
Capitalist Subjectivity and Unconscious Freedom
Ceren Özselçuk & Yahya M Madra
Value of labor power in social links: The condition of proletariat today
Moderator: Samo Tomsic

3-3.30 (caffeine)

Adriana Zaharijević
Invulnerability and Bodilessness: Robinson Crusoe's Justice
Sami Khatib
The Drive of Capital: Of Were-Wolfs, Vampires, and Returns
Matthew Flisfeder (Skype)
Moderator: Ania Malinowska

5.30-5.45 (break)

Closing discussion


Ben Gook
Dorotheenstr. 24
10117 Berlin

Libidinal Economies of Crisis Times, 27.09.2019 – 28.09.2019 Berlin, in: H-Soz-Kult, 02.09.2019, <>.