: The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy, Vol. 1: Consumption (): Georges Bataille, Robert Hurley: Books. 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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The Accursed Share – Wikipedia

But there is still a hypothetical problem: 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.

One must invite as many as one can and one must always accept lest negative socio-political and religious consequences result. Crucial to the formulation of the theory was Bataille’s reflection upon the phenomenon of potlatch.

The sacrifice pulls the victim out from the real order of useful things and posits him as sacred. Gail Chiarello, San Francisco: However, it received mixed reviews on the publication of its Accyrsed translation. We gaze intensely at the inebriated homeless man on a busy city street as we step over his unconscious cadaver, in tune with hundreds of other pedestrians who trampled him that day.

I suspect it’s the latter. In a world of despair and emptiness, all lovers have is each other: Philosophy, Neurosis, and the Elements of Everyday Life. Intimacy appears as an equaling of states between the shxre and me. In his view, economic rationality isn’t rational at all – it effectively amounts to patterns of communication rather like Habermas’s communicative rationality bztaille ‘black holes’ of prohibition, taboo and transgression.

When one destroys his possessions he risks his future. The industrial development of the entire world demands of Americans that they lucidly grasp the necessity, for an economy such as theirs, of having a margin of profitless operations.

I have touched on how the gift is always a gift of self, and giving up your individualized existence is a confrontation with death. A capitalist ethic — valuing utility, production, sbare conservation — today just like in the past, demands a squandering of excesses lest catastrophes result; but many partake in a manner that forgoes a conscious relinquishing of energies at a loss, a neglect of expending without individual gain.


Stoekl clarifies this point, suggesting self-consciousness is a reluctance hataille 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. If your group always gives the extra piece to the same person, though, patterns of preference emerge.

Potlatch, Bataille describes, is a circulation of wealth excluding bargaining; it is rather an economy of gift-exchange which continues the flow of wealth and goods. 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 whole business of eroticism is to strike to the inmost core of the living being, so that the heart stands still.

There is an opportunity to communicate in these instances. Sexual life is in direct opposition to the concerns for shafe time to come; it is the attainment of the summit ON, The chief makes excuses, saying he did not know who Little Otter was.

The fundamental violation of being for Bataille is physical eroticism not limited to sexual reproduction E, 17but we can extend these examples to other facets of life.

But as a lesson in the totality there is definitely the coincidence of the desire for totality and its discovery in the science. To reach this conclusion I first bataills a principle of risk: And so too with the gamblers in the audience: 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.

One participates in the global movement of energy by annihilating himself as he exists in his embedded life: The cancer patient who has been told his end will come in a few months, an elderly woman immobile and bed-ridden, the extreme sports enthusiast parachuting from 4, meters above the earth, plunging head-first towards the ground at kilometers per hour. I hug and cry beside my lover when her batajlle loses his battle with illness, and we too slowly lose ourselves in the embrace while struggling with our discontinuous existences.

No deliberation is undertaken; the intimate bond two people share removes considerations for accursev future and turns the principle of utility into an ethics of selfishness.


This article includes a list of referencesbut its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Bataille is arguing for sccursed push towards the limits of existence, of nothingness, rather than a desire to die.

Touchstone Terms: The Accursed Share

But we fool ourselves into thinking that risking for gain leads to wealth ever-lasting AC1, 75 — we rush out into traffic, naively unaware we will soon after part with our profits unwillingly.

He argues ancient hand-to-hand combat implied intimacy while the missile launching wars of today are anything but. But a question remains; suppose that the sacred, far from being, like the other objects of science, sbject to separation, is defined as the exact opposite of abstract objects things, tools, and clearly definable elementsprecisely as the concrete totality itself is resistant to it.

In Volumes 2 and 3 Bataille extends the argument to eroticism and sovereignty, respectively. While I will have dealt with instances in which our contemporary practices of gift-exchange are far from a Bataillean ethics, I will also discuss instances when we do participate in expenditure at a loss and without individual gain. What causes energy to be released in particular and usually violent ways is the constraining power of social prohibitions.

Where most conventional economic thinking revolves around ideas of equilibrium, Bataille points to the fundamental asymmetries of economic behaviour – particularly the asymmetry between the acquisition of commodities and wealth and their waste.

According to Surya, Bataille wanted to profoundly modify or even re-write The Accursed Shareand this and other details “bear witness to the extreme interest and importance Bataille attached during his whole life to critical reflection about sociology and the economy, in a way so essential and so central that one can without risk of error describe batai,le reflection as political.

In these cases no communication transpires between oneself and others in that location; we sit on the beach or beneath the Eiffel Tower conversing about the scenery with our spouse or friends.