Download Georges Bataille: The Sacred and Society by William Pawlett PDF

By William Pawlett

During this entire and interesting learn Georges Bataille’s critical principles – the sacred, group and eroticism – are explored intimately. Bataille’s venture to appreciate social bonds and energies at their such a lot primary point and to re-energise society by means of hard individualism is argued to be of constant relevance to sociological concept. Bataille’s notorious Collège de Sociologie is positioned within the highbrow context of Durkheimian and Maussian sociology.

Social effervescence, present trade, and the twin, ambivalent and unstable nature of the sacred grow to be the relevant threads of Bataille’s inspiration, rules which problem either capitalist hegemony and the reductive thought of society as solely normative and repressive. The learn concludes via utilising Bataille’s rules to modern concerns together with de-secularisation and the increase of non secular fundamentalism, the vicarious adventure of transgressive violence, and eventually, to consumerism and the violence of globalisation.

The examine seeks to reposition Bataille as a key determine in sociological thought.

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Additional info for Georges Bataille: The Sacred and Society

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Bataille, 1985, p. 59) The dignity and propriety of human interaction demands the covering of the genital and anal orifices and also a careful control and modulation of the mouth. The mouth, if opened too widely or too noisily, provokes a sense of disgust or at least discomfort and embarrassment. The mouth or jaws are, as Bataille puts it, where the animal ‘begins’. The human body, by contrast, should properly not have a beginning as such – though it can be seen as ‘beginning’ with the pineal eye.

Second, and related, the value system implied by science must be overturned. Science imposes a hierarchy of values with itself at the summit (naturally) and with all that it cannot assimilate denigrated as ‘myth’ or as ‘religion’. Yet ‘myth’ and ‘religion’ are ways in which human beings have explored crime, taboo, transgression, disorder, horror, death and ecstatic dissolution. Science functions by excluding such incendiary experiences, yet, ‘so long as the formal exclusion has not taken place, a mythical statement can still be assimilated to a rational statement’ (Bataille, 1985, p.

If, in the privileged parts of the world today, we see a partial ‘retrieval’ of animality – the cult of the body beautiful, ubiquitous pornography, bodily fluids as artistic materials, T-shirts adorned with skulls – then modern people have only managed to switch from fear and contempt to platitudinous assimilation. ‘Animality’ is celebrated, so long as it is a productive animality, so long as it produces capitalist exchange value. For example: pubic hair is artfully sculpted and adorned, biceps become ‘guns’ to be displayed, excrement becomes a medium that signifies the radicality of artists (such as Gilbert and George).

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