desire. The concept has been of importance to a number of broadly poststructuralist or postmodern theories, most often engaged in a debate with psychoanalysis. In these accounts desire is understood as a keyfor some, a determiningactivity in the making of the gendered and sexualized subject. An important locus for these debates has been the theory of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901-81) who was in this respect much indebted to the nineteenth-century philosopher Hegel. Following Freud, Lacan situated desire in the unconscious which develops simultaneously with the formation of the subject at the point of entry into the symbolic order. The subject's 'desire is for the desire of the Other' in Lacan's formulation. The subject, that is to say, seeks both the love or recognition of the Other (a desire to be desired by the Other) and to possess the Other (a desire for the Other). Bound up in this complex emotion is the wish also to be the Other, to find that the Other is not different but a self-reflection and hence the same: in which case desire is in fact self-desire. The oedipus complex determines that for the male child, who is the paradigm for this account, this Other is the mother (who appears as the desired object but also as a warning of castration). This desire is forbidden and thus repressed as the child accommodates himself to the symbolic authority of the father embodied in the phallus. Desire is therofore founded on a primordial absence yet committed to a necessarily futile quest for what is lacking. As such, for Lacan, the structure of desire determines the very nature of sexuality. As Madan Sarup summarizes, whereas 'Need is satisfiable, desire is insatiable.' Accordingly, it can only find sublimated or oblique expression in fantasy or fetishism. The unconscious, Lacan famously declared, is structured like a language. In so far as desire can be figured, in this understanding, as a permanently ungrounded signifier, Lacan's notion is comparable to the infinitely deferred play of meaning which Jacques Derrida assigns to language and textuality. For Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, authors of Anti-Oedipus (1983), desire is similarly decentred, dynamic and perpetual. Unlike Lacan, however, they see it for this very reason as an affirmative and revolutionary force; a flow of energies which seeks and establishes connections and 'free syntheses,' constantly frustrating the efforts of rational society whose purpose is to contain or 'territorialise' it. This is the basis of their critique of psychoanalysis (signalled in the title of their volume), since, they claim, it too seeks to confine desire in the bourgeois narrative of the Oedipus story and the family. In a deliberately improvisatory combination of Nietzsche and Marxist materialism they polemicize for a new politics which will match and outwit capitalism both in its macro-structures and its control over the 'molecular' interior life of the subject. Subjects become in this scenario 'desiring machines' whose liberated desire will depose the totalizing hegemony of the 'capitalist machine'. Feminist theories of desire have also developed from a debate with Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. French feminists in particular (for example, Julia Kristeva, Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray) have sought to rewrite Freud's endorsement of the traditional gendered distinction between active and passive sexuality and the phallic character of the structure of desire in Lacan. Luce Irigaray, for example, has celebrated the plurality of forms of female sexuality and argued that female desire is founded on touch rather than sight or the gaze. The latter she sees as having characterized Western thought and as 'foreign to female eroticism.' The 'multiplicity of female desire' expressed through touch, contact and sharing, means 'woman always remains several ... the other... already within her and autoerotically familiar to her.' Here in 'a sort of expanding universe' without limits, Irigaray finds the basis for a 'female imaginary' to contest the presumptions of phallocentricism and woman's standard role as 'use-value' and 'commodity' for men.