Sexuality, Capitalism, and Africa

July 26, 2018 - July 28, 2018
Department of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg

South Africa

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

View the Call For Papers


  • Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa


Winkler Rafael

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


5th Annual International Conference of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa




Sexuality, Capitalism, and Africa


26-27 July 2018


University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Organized by David Mitchell, Matthias Pauwels, John Lamola,

Rafael Winkler, and Abraham Olivier



Friedrich Engels was one of the first authors to relate the critique of capitalism to a sexual politics when he showed, in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, that the Western model of the nuclear family performs a central ideological function in the reproduction of capital and class and gender inequality.

Owing to the emergence of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, the critique of capitalism by such authors as Gilles Deleuze, Félix Gauttari, and Jean-François Lyotard, to name just these, became embedded in a politics of desire. This is a politics based on the recognition that the social field, including the political institutions of liberalism and the circulation of commodities on the market, is invested with libidinal forces and intensities. From its perspective, the family is not merely a unit of consumption in civil society or the space in which consent to patriarchal norms is manufactured. It is the space where the explosive force of desire is domesticated by means of the Oedipal complex and where a subject, defined by lack, guilt, and the fear of punishment, is produced.

How does capitalist production exploit the forces of desire and the intensities of emotion? To what extent are such forces and intensities destabilizing and disruptive of social identities and of the identity of the system? What kind of fantasies does capitalism produce as substitute means of gratification? What mechanisms, codes, or values does it use to bind and unbind the flow of desire? How are sexual pleasure and the orgasm put in the service of capitalism?

These questions are of particular relevance in a postcolonial context, especially in African countries with emerging economies, in which capitalism, sexism and racism are receiving increasing critical attention.

The aim of this conference is to address some of these questions with a particular focus on developments on the African continent, especially South Africa.  

Topics of the conference include, but are not limited to:

·      The fetishism of commodity production;

·      Sexual politics, feminism, identity politics;

·      The social construction of sex, gender, class, and race;

·      The production of post/capitalist subjectivities;

·      Psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt school, and Critical Theory;

·      Nietzsche, Freud, Marx;

·      Western and African socialism;

·      Capitalism and desire in postcolonies and emerging economies 


Please send a 700 word abstract for blind review to The full paper should be no more than 3500-4000 words for a 35-40 min. presentation. Proposals for panel discussion are also welcome.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is the 1st of April 2018. Notification of acceptance will be sent latest by the 13th of April 2018.

Conference fees:

The fee for the full two-day conference (including tea and lunches) for participants is R1500 (including VAT). It is R750 for the full two-day conference for all participating graduate and PhD students.


A limited number of bursaries will be available for travel and accommodation.


The organizers recommend that conference participants stay in the Melville area in Johannesburg, which is within walking distance from UJ Auckland Park Campus. The current rate for B&Bs in the Melville area is R400 per person per night.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;}

For more information about the conference, please visit the website of the Centre for Phenomenology in South Africa: Alternatively, please contact David Mitchell (, Matthias Pauwels (, Rafael Winkler (, or Abraham Olivier ( 

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




April 1, 2018, 5:00am SAST

Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.

RSVPing on PhilEvents is not sufficient to register for this event.