The Order of Joy

Beyond the Cultural Politics of Enjoyment

By Scott Wilson

Subjects: Cultural Studies, Psychoanalysis, Literary Theory, Political Theory
Series: SUNY series in Psychoanalysis and Culture
Paperback : 9780791474501, 206 pages, January 2009
Hardcover : 9780791474495, 206 pages, August 2008

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Table of contents

Part One  Introduction
1. The Structure of the Real
Part Two  Toward Anorganic Joy
2. Trainspotting with Deleuze
3. Exhausting Joy
Part Three  Joyful Immanence (There Is No Other)
4. Order of Intimacy
5. Return to Zero
Part Four  Event

6. Surprised by Joy
7. Joy’s Laughter
Part Five  a-Life
8. Becoming Barely Virtual


Provocative exploration of a new concept of “joy” within psychoanalytic and cultural studies.


This provocative book introduces a new concept of "joy" within psychoanalytic and cultural studies that provides a different way of understanding the structures of affect produced by shifts in contemporary culture and economy. In so doing, the author offers a radically refigured Lacanianism that is developed through a critical reading of Deleuze.

Scott Wilson is Reader in Cultural Theory at Lancaster University in England. He is the author of several books, including Bataille (coauthored with Fred Botting).


"One of the most exciting, provocative, and creative theoretical works in psychoanalysis and cultural studies today. Scott Wilson elaborates a wholly original idea, the treatment of 'joy' as an 'arche-concept' radically de-territorialized and freed from the orthodoxies of Lacanian jouissance or Barthesian pleasure, now able to 'hook up' with practically every relevant theorist who could have something to contribute to an analysis of global consumer capitalism. This is a unique work that raises central questions for media theory, political theory, literary and film studies, and psychoanalysis. It provides a compelling alternative to the hegemony of Zðizûek in cultural studies." — Diane Rubenstein, author of This Is Not a President: Sense, Nonsense, and the American Political Imaginary

"Wilson's insightful argument is buttressed not only by his deft treatment of theory taken from works by Deleuze, Foucault, Lacan, and others but also by a host of diverse and striking examples drawn from popular culture. References from the music of Iggy Pop, to the films Trainspotting, Memento, and Fight Club, to the phenomena of heroin addiction and anorexia, and to television programs such as The Office serve to sharpen his argument and illustrate it convincingly." — Leslie Anne Boldt-Irons, editor of On Bataille: Critical Essays