Tomasz Kaliściak, Tomasz Sikora
During the 1990s “fluidity” became a postmodern catchword. For Zygmunt Bauman, for instance, the state of permanent liquidity defines the late, consumerist stage of modernity (Bauman passim). For numerous feminist, gender and queer authors, on the other hand, the (arguably liberating) concept of fluidity opened up new spaces for theorizing the end of fixed and stable bodies, genders, sexualities and identities. Related aspects of corporeality – such as Bakhtin’s incomplete and grotesque bodies, Kristeva’s “abject” – have been elaborated on quite extensively. Is it still possible to talk about fluidity without either repeating the hackneyed clichés or else dismissing the “postmodern follies” from, say, a sober Marxist position? As some might want to argue, the liberating capacities of the fluidity metaphor, if any, have reached their limits and at the end of the day it has proven to do little more than buy into the capitalistic logic that “liquidates” stable structures and leaves us vulnerable to a neoliberal re-modelling of socio-political relations. Others, however – including, notably, the editors of this issue of InterAlia – criticize the “fluidification project” for not being radical enough, for giving in to a resolidification and hygienicization of the corporeal, and for conforming to (however reconfigured or, indeed, fluidified) norms of propriety. Further explorations of the body’s materiality promise to re-fluidify queer thinking and promote a “mucosal, suppurative and leaky ontology” (as the editors of this issue have put it). One would also want to hope that the dematerializing liquidity brought about by capitalism could be countered by the rematerializing effect of a corporeal imaginary that resists hygienicization, re-appropriation and functionalization. Thus, in the most general terms, it would be a plea for a materiality without reification.
Keywords: fluidity, body, corporeality, hygienicization, materiality