The Cannibal and the Caterpillar : Violence, Pain, and Becoming-Man in Early Twentieth Century Germany

Bischoff, Eva

In the wake of Foucauldian thought, the self and its identity are often regarded as the result of disciplinary practices and technologies, inscribing the law into the body which is depicted as a passive, pliable matter. This account echoes the binary divisions between nature/culture, mind/body, and sex/gender. Feminist scholars have repeatedly questioned this Cartesian dichotomy. This essay explores the potential of DeleuzoGuattarian feminist theory to capture the affective momentum of the body as an agent in its own right: its capacity to establish affective, visceral, carnal connections and thereby to transform itself. It focusses on the case of Peter Kürten, a serial sex criminal, and his incarceration in early twentieth-century Germany. Following Elizabeth Grosz’s suggestion to imagine body and mind, matter and discourse as locked to each other in a Möbius strip, it argues that even in extreme situations of confinement and discipline, we can detect the interconnectedness of disciplinary power and bodily potentia without pre-suming one has supremacy over the other. Aus: Politics 1 (2013), Heft 2, ISSN 2196-4793



Bischoff, Eva: The Cannibal and the Caterpillar. Violence, Pain, and Becoming-Man in Early Twentieth Century Germany. 2014.


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