Intellectual History
of Disruption

The module “Intellectual History of Disruption” endows the project with a historical dimension of cultural knowledge and examines the discourses of disruption beginning with the 19th century, looking at how disruption is constructed within these discourses as the supposed theoretical other of the normal course of things and how theories themselves deal with events that disrupt their routines of description. Our objects of study encompass all those fields of knowledge in which anomalies have been observed as a way of addressing the semantics of society, and by way of reaction new orders of knowledge and new systems of categorisation have been proposed. Such cases appear to become especially frequent in the 19th and 20th centuries: in the life sciences, particularly in psychoanalysis, psycho-physiological disorders were investigated. In legal theory, the notion of the state of emergency was formulated and mathematical information theory deliberated on the phenomenon of noise in communication. The aim of the module is to bring together theories of disruption from different disciplines and – within the framework of their respective orders of knowledge – examine them for interferences and latent characteristics.