Accursed Share: Consumption

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As he explains, the "very term heterogeneous indicates that it concerns elements that are impossible to assimilate.

In summary, compared to everyday life, heterogeneous existence can be represented as something other, as incommensurate. So too with the six-fingered hand.

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The Accursed Share, Volume 1

We could no more find a rational use for rotting bodies than we could make an extra finger work in the service of rationalised nature. Both are excessive and radically other in relation to the enlightenment desire for order and reason. Their inability to be absorbed into these privileged orders of culture or nature is determined by a non-logical difference, 2 and it is from this position that Rizkalla is most critical of not only fascist authority in the context of Nazism, but any authority which has relinquished prudence.

The absence of any well-worn symbols of authority in Rizkalla's work is consequently filled by the emphasis of that which such symbols consume. It is stock wisdom to understand these dejected bodies as the outcome of a kind of demented machine hell-bent on the destruction of all racial, sexual and physical differences. Although Rizkalla's use of old projectors and the images they produce lends itself to this kind of reading, it is not production which is important here but consumption.

Rizkalla avoids any simple recourse to mechanistic metaphors but instead concentrates on the bizarre strictures of authority and the way it is nourished by the very things it seeks to destroy. The distinction is crucial. For if all authority can be shown to be predicated on the differences it loathes the most, then a space is opened for both to be seen, not as opposites, but informed by the same desire.


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Authority, and the differences it simultaneously consumes and annihilates are equally heterogeneous. They make up the central dualism in the heterogeneous world, an opposition "between glory and dejection.

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For every libidinal investment the social body makes in idealised political symbols in flags, its leaders, nations and border wars , a race must be banished, a finger lopped off, or a body incarcerated and burned. You cannot have one without the other, or more to the point, the very thing authority and social and political cohesion expels, organises it nonetheless. The way that these historical figurations are abstracted into decorative motifs and become wallpaper is not ironic but consistent with Bataille's awareness that abstraction itself is the select mode of Western thought.

One way to see Rizkalla's gradation into patterns is to view it as the logical conclusion of modernity which "brings new and seemingly irreversible forms of domination: the reification of experience and the introduction of the abstract measure of utility. What People are Saying About This Endorsement A serious book of political economy that also claims 'the sexual act is in time what the tiger is in space.

Consumption Volume 1 The Accursed Share

A serious book of political economy that also claims 'the sexual act is in time what the tiger is in space. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Most Anglo-American readers know Bataille as a novelist.

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At the end of the twentieth century, intellectual property rights collided with everyday life. Volumes 2 and 3 extend the argument to eroticism and sovereignty, respectively. The philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre cited The Accursed Share in his Critique of Dialectical Reason , crediting Bataille with interesting insights into the way extravagance can become an "economic function. Brown credited Bataille with providing "a first sketch" of a "post-Marxist science of political economy"; he found Bataille's ideas about economics to have particular relevance following the collapse of communism.

Theories of Luxury Capitalism: Consumption and its General Economy

Paul Hegarty argued that Bataille became an "apologist for Stalinism " in The Accursed Share , doing so despite Bataille's awareness of the brutalities of the Soviet Union. Erik Davis in The Voice Literary Supplement called it "a serious book of political economy that also claims 'the sexual act is in time what the tiger is in space. Jump to: navigation , search.

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