Crisis as a concept, as a scream

Eirini Avramopoulou*

Crisis as a concept, as a scream

Following Cathy Caruth’s analysis on trauma but also departing from it, in this paper I ask: How can we understand new states of trauma and experiences of suffering that the ‘crisis’ discourse created? Or else, what does it mean to ‘be’ or ‘become’ subjected to the concept of crisis? Deleuze reminds us that “Concepts really are so living that they are not unrelated to something that would, however, appear the furthest from the concept, notably the scream” (Deleuze, Seminar on Leibniz). But how to follow a concept outside the monopoly of meaning attributed to it and hence against its implied logocentrism? How to listen to a scream crying out the repetition of a trauma without being subjectified to the neoliberal language of pain production?

Taking the concept, indeed the scream, of crisis as a “thought flow” which according to Deleuze “traverses the world and that even encompasses silence” (Deleuze, Seminar on Leibniz), in this paper I will follow the intertwined histories of spaces and people amidst the current affective atmosphere of severe economic precariousness in Greece. Scrutinising crisis as a temporal, spatial and acoustic flow reverberating a constantly changing urban environment, and the desire to create sustainable and alternative livelihoods, my aim is to be attentive to different sensibilities not yet screamed in the concept ‘crisis’, nevertheless echoing an existence “hanging on a push of the lungs,” as poetically phrased by Cavarero (2005:169).

* Eirini Avramopoulou is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Sociology Department of the University of Cambridge working on a new ethnographic research on the ‘human and social costs of economic crisis in Greece’. Eirini received a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and her work has been published in edited volumes and journals, including The Greek Review of Social Research, Cultural Anthropology/Hot Spots, Critical Interdisciplinarity (Kritiki Diepistimonikotita), and Thesis. At the moment she is completing her first monograph on affect, performativity, and gender-queer activism in Istanbul, Turkey.

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