‘We are all prostitutes’: Crisis and Libidinal Economy

Noys, B. (2017) ‘We are all prostitutes’: Crisis and Libidinal Economy. In: Credo Credit Crisis. Rowman & Littlefield, London, pp. 169-184. ISBN 9781783483815

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In recent texts by the activist group Tiqqun and the artist collective Claire Fontaine the misery of our present moment has been invoked in terms of bodies in a state of ‘living currency’. This concept, borrowed from Pierre Klossowski and Jean-François Lyotard, is used to indicate the absolute reduction of the human to capitalist libidinal economy. Such a reduction, they argue, is not simply to be decried, but indicates the possibility of resistance coded as a reversal from sexualisation into a new collective body. This moment of transfiguration echoes, appropriately, the traces of religious articulation already present in Klossowski and Lyotard. Here faith implies the traversal of the via dolorosa of sexualisation and ‘universal prostitution’ (Marx), as the rebirth of a new promiscuous politics of collective sharing. This re-enchantment or re-sacralisation of the body implies a theological vitalism that is ‘released’ by capitalism. If we are all ‘living currency’, merely exchangeable commodities, then by living this status we can exceed this state (and capitalism) through a vital transformation. This theological vitalism is intensely problematic, especially in its articulation at the drawn-out moment of crisis. It speaks to crisis and the collapse of faith in capital by the recovery of faith in the body as site of force. Such a ‘recovery’, however, risks rationalising and enchanting capital’s abandonment of bodies as sources of labour-power. At the same time it feeds the fantasy of force, acceleration, and immersion that structure capitalist social reality. To truly rupture with our belief in capitalist society requires a traversal of this social fantasy of vital transformation.

Publication Type: Book Sections
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > English and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Benjamin Noys
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 14:39
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 14:39
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/3181

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