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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Type: Paper
Author: PETER LOCKE (Princeton University)   
Date/Time: Fri., 11:00 AM
Co-Author(s): PETER LOCKE (Princeton University) 
Abstract: This paper rethinks the “symptom”—both as concept and as empirical experience—by considering my ethnographic work on Sarajevo in dialogue with Deleuze and Guattari’s expansive critique of psychoanalysis. I explore how Deleuze’s understanding of health and illness might help us to grasp symptoms as (at times) a fundamental resource for the afflicted to articulate marginalized needs and desires. Such an optic is particularly illuminating for a context like Sarajevo: over a decade after the end of a brutal three-year siege, it is a city overflowing with symptoms—intense affects, visible wounds, seemingly intractable social problems. Years of trauma-focused psychosocial projects have helped psychiatric diagnostics (depression and PTSD) to become mainstays of common sense; and the availability of psychiatric drugs and psychosocial services has enabled new ways of remaking lives and families. At the same time, diagnostic language has the effect of emphasizing damage over possibility, painting the city primarily in terms of its wounds—while disregarding the hopes, desires, and political resistances that pain can also communicate. Symptoms, in Guattari’s metaphor, are “birds that strike their beaks against the window:” less an indicator of unconscious complexes or psychic damage, in other words, than of a life force trapped at an impasse, awaiting a chance to break through. This approach has important implications for the work of anthropologists in contexts like Sarajevo (and beyond); and, more broadly, for our understanding of the relations between knowledge production, care, and social suffering.

Program Number: 3-0385
Session Sponsor: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Fri., 10:15 AM-12:00 PM
Organizer(s): BHRIGUPATI SINGH (Harvard University), PETER LOCKE (Princeton University), STUART MCLEAN (University of Minnesota) 
Chair(s): JOAO BIEHL (Princeton University)  
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