Shattering the subject: Georges Bataille and the limits of therapy

Noys, Benjamin (2005) Shattering the subject: Georges Bataille and the limits of therapy. European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 7 (3). pp. 125-136. ISSN 1364-2537

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Abstract

This article is an analysis of the work of the French intellectual Georges Bataille (1897–1962) and its implications for interrogating the limits of therapy. One of the central concepts of Bataille’s thought is transgression and the destabilizing effects of transgression on any concept of the limit. I explore this thinking through an analysis of Bataille’s personal and theoretical relationship to psychoanalysis. Bataille’s radicalization of psychoanalysis is then pursued through his use of mythic representations of the ‘shattered subject’. These models of the shattered subject offer an interrogation of some of the theoretical and practical limits of therapy, particularly when it is centred on the individual. Drawing on these models it is then argued that Bataille offers a new ethics of abjection, which proposes that we must interrogate the subject in terms of what our culture regards as ‘waste’. Comparison is made between Bataille’s thought and that of Jacques Lacan, and it is argued that Bataille offers a potential radicalization of Lacan’s concept of the Real and his ‘ethics of psychoanalysis’. The limits of Bataille’s own writing are critically interrogated, drawing on the readings of his work by Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Divisions: Departments > English and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Benjamin Noys
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2013 15:05
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2017 09:35
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/1003

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