Against the Flow: When the Gift and Sexual Biopolitics Bleed Together

O' Dwyer, Killian. 2024. 'Against the Flow: When the Gift and Sexual Biopolitics Bleed Together'. In: Leakage: the Inaugural Conference of STSinG. Dresden, Germany 19 - 22 March 2024. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

The language of ‘leaks’ and ‘flows’ suggest different registers of intentionality or violence when framed alongside the body. In ‘Sanguine Resistance,’ Lynn Turner echoes the words of Derrida and his objection to the innate cruelty within the desire to make blood flow, a decisive act that floods both philosophical and literary archives with a masculine libidinal economy of enforced law and order. The ‘skill’ in making blood flow is situated throughout history as an inalienable right for Homo Faber to sacrifice and spill in the name of progress and impermeable sovereignty. However, in ‘Sanguine Resistance,’ Turner counters this desire for bloodshed by drawing on Derrida’s aporia of the gift, to retheorises a future for blood that does not enter into a sacrificial economy of reciprocity or indebtedness, but instead manifests as a form of sanguine resistance to the phallocentric regimentation of sexual difference.
Similar to Turner, this paper turns to Derrida’s bloody notion of ‘making flow’ to expose a different register of cruel intent behind the purposeful leaking of bodies: the biopolitical management of fluids in the era of sexual wellness. Far removed from the sanguine hue of blood, the capitalist focus on making genital fluids flow feeds into what Paul Preciado describes in Testo-Junkie as a disciplinary sexopolitical regime that controls bodies from within. By relying on the growing technologization of hormones, antidepressants, porn and lubricants, the reigning masculine libidinal economy has found a new method of sovereign control over bodies by inhabiting the inner networks of blood itself. Returning to Derrida’s aporia of the gift, this paper extends Turner’s project to the orifices of the body, to consider how the secreting or leaking of fluids might represent a form of genital resistance to the colonial-patriarchal fantasy of ‘natural gifts.’ In this paper I ask simply:‘what is the future of sexual flow?’

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


21 March 2024Completed

Event Location:

Dresden, Germany

Date range:

19 - 22 March 2024

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Mar 2024 17:03

Last Modified:

27 Mar 2024 17:03


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