, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 123–145 | Cite as

Beside-the-mind: an unsettling, reparative reading of paranoia

Original Article


Having undertaken a critical analysis of a transnational program of research to identify and intervene on the prodrome, a pre-psychotic state, here I experiment with an unsettling, reparative reading of its affective coils—paranoia. Etymologically joining para (beside) with nous (mind), “paranoia” denotes an experience beside-the-mind. I attempt to follow these roots, meeting a non-human figure—Coatlicue—as introduced through Chicana philosopher and poet, Gloria Anzaldúa. In the arms of this goddess, the prodrome points to the vitality and the milieu of paranoia, re-turning it as a capacity, calling for modes of attunement and apprenticeship, and perhaps protecting our psychological and political practices against yet another operation of colonialist capture. Challenging the subject, interlocutors, and form typically adopted by not just Psychology but Affect Studies too, I hope in this performative essay to also lift up the problems and possibilities of Walter Mignolo’s ‘border thinking’ as a means to open the potential decoloniality, and thus response-ability, of these fields within the present political moment.


Coatlicue Decolonization Imagination Paranoia Reparative 



The reviewers and editors of Subjectivity; the intellectual and political space created by my co-authors in this special issue; the generosity of the prodrome clinic in which I did my ethnography; the feedback and conversations I have had with Linda Alcoff, Sunil Bhatia, Priya Chandrakeseran, Patricia Clough, Michelle Fine, Monique Guishard, Cindi Katz, Holli McEntegart, and Wiremu Woodard; the immensely helpful questions of Tehseen Noorani. Also to el Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, Mexico, where this article was finalized during a two-month residency.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical and Community PsychologyUniversity of East LondonLondonUK

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