Milieux of Desire

Call for Papers

In today’s society, desire is a two-headed monster. The first head takes the form of the constant drive toward quick satisfaction, whether via porn consumption or the online dating game. The monster’s other head is anchored in the systemic privation of desire culminating in the rise of a global state of depression, anxiety, and the tendencial fall of self-worth. While the former drive inhabits a very playful aspect of interpersonal relations, the latter state unfolds in a temporal realm where sad affects proliferate against the background of political de-responsibility. As such, desire is a strange beast. It resides in the meandering of daily life and becomes machinic the more we rely on artificial supplements. However, desire can also be understood as something other than an object of possession or process of identification. Desire could be addressed as a space of potentialities, as an encounter in time and space that creates fluid and intangible sensation. For this reason, desire is a multi-centric force that takes place in the liminal realm of becoming. To pay attention to the realm in which desire can emerge is to move away from the reductive understanding desire as either an object to be possessed or a fantasy to be fulfilled.

At a time where the future seems to lose its collective potential, desire becomes an interdisciplinary platform to politically address questions of environmental activism, social struggle, intellectual resistance, and artistic engagement. The political stakes of desire are anchored in our collective capacity to invest in the future. While desire has long been debated from a theoretical framework that oscillates between identification and objectification, this special issue asks: what is a desired, desiring, and desirable milieu? The milieux of desire become the realm from which cooperative modes of libidinal investment must be cultivated so that the future may continue to hold the promise of a desiring common ground. As such, this special issue will reflect upon the liminal realms of desire in today’s digital societies. While most of today’s relationships are monitored by communicative platforms that transform relations of desire based on computational affordances, this issue on desire is interested in questioning the newly engendered spaces of encounter as well as the relational operations though which algorithmic structures preempt our social interactions. At stake in our increasingly fast-paced digital world is the very possibility of a creative, inventive, and thus desiring approach to grasping the spatio-temporal relations of digital platforms.

In this context, and given the importance of newly technical zones of intimacy in today’s society, this special issue aims to engage diverse methodologies and conceptual framework, such as media studies, performance studies, philosophy, critical race studies, as well as geography and psychoanalysis to foster debates around the importance of desiring, desirable, and desired milieu today. By investigating the liminal space of encounter, the milieux of desire, we aim to open up an interdisciplinary debate on the spatio-temporal field from which diverse desiring processes can emerge. As the driving force of becoming otherwise in the world, desire holds the promise of a newly engendered political responsibility. As such, the triad of desire—its desiring, desired, and desirable milieux—is a critical tool to reassess the margins of possibility left to account for diverse, complex, and multiple ways of desiring being together in the world.

We invite authors to submit a contribution of between 3000 and 3500 words. The very short format of the essay is aimed to create space for multiple points of view and to offer a myriad of voices from diverse methodological backgrounds. We invite contributors to center their proposition on a core idea and to focus on its methodology. We highly encourage submissions that develop an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas between scholars and artists. We also encourage co-authorship.



We encourage you to read our Code of Ethics and politics of evaluation.



  • September 1st: Submission of a 3000-3500 word proposition
  • September 1st – October 1st: Peer-review process
  • October 15th: Evaluations and Results
  • November 15th: Submit final draft
  • December 15th: Final proof
  • December 30th: Online publication

Confirmed contributor: Maurizio Lazzarato, “On Some ‘Misunderstandings’ About Desire”.