Contemporary French Civilization

The queer aesthetics of la PrEP: iconography, the pharmacopornographic regime, and (safe) sex in the French neoliberal marketplace

Contemporary French Civilization (2021), 46, (2), 213–231.

Abstract

This article offers an analysis of an array of French pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) campaigns through the pharmacopornographic framework established in the works of transfeminist philosopher Paul Preciado. Throughout, I argue that the material and discursive presentation of PrEP in these campaigns, part of a more expansive injection of biomedical protocols into the global marketplace, invites us to (re)consider binary conceptualizations of queer and non-queer subjectivities, normal and pathological sexual subjectivities, and good and bad sexual citizenship often through biomedical and neoliberal perspectives. Additionally, I propose the critical concept, biotechsex, to describe the biotech circuit that simultaneously subjectifies users and non-users of biotechnologies, like the PrEP option, and circumscribes them within a dynamic network of socio-political discourses concerning morality, ethics, pathology, and desire, a circuit formed and informed by the more specific French ideologies of universalism and communitarianism.

Cet article offre une analyse d’une variété de campagnes françaises de prophylaxie pré-exposition (Prep) à travers le cadre pharmacopornographique établi dans les travaux du philosophe transféministe Paul Preciado. Tout au long, je soutiens que la présentation matérielle et discursive de la Prep dans ces campagnes, elle-même faisant partie d’une saturation plus généralisée du marché global de protocols biomédicaux, nous invite à (re)considérer les conceptualisations binaires des subjectivités queer et non-queer, les subjectivités sexuelles normales et pathologiques, la bonne et la mauvaise citoyenneté sexuelle souvent à travers une optique biomédicale et néolibérale. De plus, je propose le concept critique, biotechsex, pour décrire le circuit biotech qui simultanément subjectivise les utilisateurs et non-utilisateurs des biotechnologies, comme la Prep, et les circonscrit dans un réseau dynamique de discours socio-politiques concernant la moralité, l’éthique, la pathologie et le désir, un circuit formé et informé par les idéologies françaises plus spécifiques de l’universalisme et du communautarisme.

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Author details

Gomolka, C.J.