Radical Practices of Body Modification: Fantasy of Unicity and Contemporary Social Bond

Regular Section “Subject, Subjectivities, and Practices of the Body in the Contemporary World”
By Quentin Dumoulin, Romuald Hamon, Mickaël Peoc’h

In this article, the authors attempt to describe the practice of body modification, especially when exacerbated. These practices are rooted in a social bond that combines scientism and neoliberalism. The most extreme cases are sometimes advocated for in the name of transhumanism or driven by a promise of “life extension” guaranteed by science. By discussing two cases that may be related to transspecism, this study points out that beyond clarifying the logic of the social bond underlying the subject’s entry into the register of possible, these practices are also sometimes based on a subjective wish for uniqueness or exception to the human race. Using Freud’s and Lacan’s psychoanalytical concept of identity, the authors propose an analogy between the lack of being, structural for the subject of the unconscious, and his unquenchable quest for identity. This wish to except humanity paradoxically appears to be supported by the contemporary social bond, that prescribes both uniqueness and difference for everyone.


  • transspecism
  • social bond
  • body
  • image
  • psychoanalysis
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info