Symposium - Call for Delegates

The Symptom in Theory

8th September, 2009

Location: Room 0.31, Humanities Building, Cardiff University

Organiser: Aidan Tynan

Registration is free, just send an email to

Papers include:

Christian Kerslake (Middlesex University), “The Symptom in the Cahiers pour l'analyse (Jacques-AlainMiller and Michel PĂȘcheux)”.
James Williams (University of Dundee), “Theory as a Form of Desire: Theory and Libidinal EconomicsRevisited”.
Ian Buchanan (Cardiff University), “Fantasies of Disorder”

Description of the event:

Some of the most influential theoretical contributions of the last several decades have sought toformulate the relationship between the body and its symbolic environments through the concept of thesymptom. Perhaps the most influential of these was Lacan's conception of speech and desire, in whichthe symptom, as signifier, discloses a set of meanings which disturb conscious discourse. Deleuzeand Guattari's subsequent insistence that schizophrenia should not be interpreted in negative terms,as the signs of a breakdown, but as the positivity of desire breaking through to a new, possiblyrevolutionary, plane of existence specifically attacked the psychoanalytic notion of the symptom bytying it to the structures of social repression. Beyond these debates, the symptom has figured inthe theory of literature, historical materialism, embodiment and sexuality, and dialectics. Thissymposium seeks to situate the concept of the symptom in relation to these theoretical and politicalissues in order to ask what the symptom means for us today. How has the concept of the symptompersisted and how can it help us understand the relationships between pathology and thought, desireand language, praxis and theory, politics and art in our present age? The event will consist of asmall number of concurrent panels, plenary panels, roundtable discussion and will allow for criticaland polemical debates in a workshop style setting.