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Sensational FleshRace, Power, and Masochism$
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Amber Jamilla Musser

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479891818

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479891818.001.0001

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Lacerated Breasts

Lacerated Breasts

Medicine, Autonomy, Pain

(p.118) 5 Lacerated Breasts
Sensational Flesh

Amber Jamilla Musser

NYU Press

This chapter discusses Bob Flanagan’s sadomasochistic plays; Audre Lorde’s reflections on cancer; as well as Gilles Deleuze’s theorizations of illness and masochism, to study the notion of desubjectification. Flanagan’s plays shows how people cope with powerlessness that comes from within—when pain comes from the body because of illness. Deleuze imagines masochism as a step away from the discipline of modernity and subjectivity; hence, it allows for the opening of new possibilities for thought and life. The most developed form of this argument comes from his work with Félix Guattari on the Body without Organs (BwO). Lastly, Lorde’s reading of the erotic discusses communal self, scripting agency, and sexuality as affects of the plurality of subjectification.

Keywords:   Bob Flanagan, Audre Lorde, Gilles Deleuze, sadomasochistic play, cancer, desubjectification

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