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Georges Bataille () was a French writer, essayist, and philosopher whose works include The Story of the Eye, The Blue of Noon, The Accursed Share. In George Bataille’s three volume The Accursed Share, he imagines a primitive subsistence society that gathers just a little more food or other. This essay addresses Georges Bataille as a historical thinker by concentrating on The Accursed Share (three volumes, ), the text.

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Second Opinions Cancel reply. Yet for cultures that are built on sexual propriety, this safety is also unsettling. Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, 2nd ed. Joachim Neugroschel, San Francisco: Hence the gift economy, or potlatch a crucial concept in Debord and Baudrillardwere events of religious, erotic and economic significance — in the ancient world the building of cathedrals, or pyramids or the sacrifice of animals should be seen as the economic norm of which capitalist productivity is the abberation.

Bataille uses this simple concept to tge a remarkably compelling just-so story of the political economy of both inequality and culture. As a framework, it strikes me as particularly important for those who work on political economy, like an artist using a camera obscura to see a scene differently for more accurate drawing or painting.

Certainly some people have better or worse lives, some people die later and others earlier. The principle of risk is a fundamental component in what follows, an explication of self-consciousness differentiating glorious and catastrophic squandering.

Comparing Islam and capitalism — noting the similar ignorance of the limits — is profound. I know I can be reduced to nothing. Bataille brought this to speed with the contemporary post-war environment and you could continue to do so long after his death.

Bataille’s The Accursed Share: The Implications of Excess | Troy Bordun –

Open Preview See a Problem? Bataille illustrates several of these expenditures in detail, namely, jewels, cults and sacrifice, competitive games, and nonproductive art. There is an interesting treatment of De Sade in eroticism.

Hereafter cited as NE. In dissolving geortes displacing ourselves other people become interested in us and likewise we are interested in them. Where the book becomes extremely interesting is in its implication that the structure of society is inherently tied to the methods it uses to deal with the accursed share: Bukowski gives us a rough guide to betting and some speculative observations.


When one tries to make productive use of the surplus of energy and wealth the result is often misfortune. Woe to those who, to the very end, insist on regulating the movement that exceeds them with the narrow mind of the mechanic who changes a tire. Aug 01, Nathan rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Stoekl clarifies this point, suggesting self-consciousness is a reluctance to accept things or goods which serve a purpose, that provide one with a sense of security or profit to be put to use for some future goal.

Titmuss, The Gift Relationship: The Americans on the other hand participated in the bad form of expenditure: We should now be able to fully explicate the simplest and yet most nonproductive expenditure available to us today, gifts of the body. A major and badly ‘overlooked’ book. In other words, an organism in Bataille’s general economy, unlike the rational actors of classical economy who are motivated by scarcity, normally has an “excess” of energy available to it.

A pure expenditure is near: Lingis attempts to say the same regarding bodies: What is less Heideggerian is a setting up of a dialectic of production and consumption that is materialized in the concept of ‘excess’ that comes up with its own historical and peculiar incarnations.

In Body Transformations Lingis identifies three well-known and contemporary practices of potlatch: Risk and loss of self is precisely what transpires in gift-giving, most noticeable in embracing another during their most desperate hour. Oxford University Press, One may earn a living researching for pharmaceutical companies out to make a quick buck, but his weekends are filled with personal research on diseases and cures.

Like myself, she had not yet drained the tempest evoked by the shamelessness of her cunt, and at times she let out husky moans; she was literally torn away by joy, and her nude body was hurled upon an embankment with an awful scraping of steel on the pebbles and a piercing shriek. This is why Stoekl and I suggest that sovereignty — although possessing a mystical element — is the guide or model towards an ethic of pure expenditure.

The Implications of Excess? One of the most original thinkers in contemporary 20th Century literature. But there is still a hypothetical problem: This excess serves as the primary ontological consideration in the treatment of economic behaviour that is to be considered in unison with the erotic and the sacred.


The only bad part of it is when he defends Stalinist Russia, arguing against his own thesis to do so- he proposes that Russia needs to accumulate purposefully in order to achieve full capitalism so that it can reach communism, but this contradicts his own vision of societies of wasteful and extravagant use value, as well as accepting the excuses made for Bolshevik dictatorship, a bit shortsig A magnificent text on the destructive tendency of economy and Bataille’s vision of a “headless society”.

I left her house… in a mood of vague dissatisfaction. Story of the Eye, 60 Stoekl comments on this passage, saying it is an exemplary account of erotic energy expended nonproductively. Textbooks appropriate the work done by others; the author of the textbook is paid for writing at 49 Ibid. Gail Chiarello, San Francisco: The surplus cannot be squandered because the monks and the idle person turn their backs to the solution of excesses AC1,glorious destruction.

As he goes on to show, unproductive expenditure is a very difficult task, excesses then being the defining problem of an economic system. Indiana University Press, Qccursed Volume 1, Bataille introduces the theory and provides historical examples of the functioning of general economy: Ritual sacrifice, potlatches, conquest, festivals, opulence and luxury, lavish public works–avenues through which given social formations must expend their surpluses or risk descending into famine, imperial wars, genocide, mass unemployment, etc.

Roland Barthes, Julia Kristeva, and Philippe Sollers have all written enthusiastically about his work.

The Accursed Share: An Essay on General Economy, Volume I: Consumption

From the perspective accursde general economy, life is a terrific excess that cannot be fully utilized due to the limits of growth and reproduction. The chief makes excuses, saying he did not know who Little Otter was. But societies usually learn that this kind of response to excess is not a good idea: At first I did not accept these tips, offering them to a coworker, whom always pocketed it with haste and gratitude.