Relocating Mad_Trans Re_presentations Within an Intersectional Framework


  • Eliah Hannes Lüthi Humboldt University, Berlin



Mad Studies, 'mental health', transgender studies, representation, intersectionality, polity and social politics, social work theory


Stigmatizing images around Mad_trans positions are a part of everyday re_presentations; they can be found in numerous discourses, including those around medicine, the news media, fictional narratives, and even activism. When looking at discourses around madness, (mental) disability, and trans identity it becomes clear that stigmatizing images around madness in combination with other marginalized categories are not limited to any particular time period or genre. Having said that, however, the long tradition of Mad_trans re_presentations in thriller movies can be used as a magnifying glass to gain awareness of how widespread and routine discourses that establish Mad_trans positions as fearsome and abnormal truly are. For that reason, this article begins by looking at Mad_trans re_presentations in thriller movies; it asks the following questions: How are these images connected to wider psychopathologization, intersectional power relations, and a long tradition of stigmatizing re_presentations around madness? How do they work to create sameness and difference, belonging and Othering, normality and abnormality? I provide an exemplary overview and critical analysis of Mad_trans re_presentations in discourses around thrillers, medicine, the news media, and activism. In dialogue with Ahmed’s (2004b) concept of affective politics of fear, I analyze the function of fear here as a significant recipient response to the particular re_presentations mentioned above. Other aspects that are addressed include how hegemonic Mad_trans re_presentations influence counter-discourses and the possibilities and challenges of resistant re_presentations and readings in dialogue with broader discourses around re_presentation, spectatorship, solidarity, and identity.

Author Biography

Eliah Hannes Lüthi, Humboldt University, Berlin

Doctoral student at the Faculty for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies (Zentrum für transdisziplinäre Geschlechterstudien).

Eliah Lüthi is writing from the perspective of a white Mad_trans person with an academic background in social work and gender studies. His current research is in the fields of Mad Studies, gender studies, disability studies, postcolonial studies, and affect theory.