Bataille Georges(1897-1962) French poststructuralist thinker who mixed fictional and scientific discourse in order to explore the nature of horror, baseness, and obscenity. During the 1930s Bataille attended Alexandre Kojeve's lecture course on Hegel's phenomenology. Taking his reading of Hegel from Kojeve, Bataille argued that the quest for absolute knowledge overlooked the importance of horizontal thinking and the horror of basic existence. Following Kojeve, this position suggested that Hegel's system threatened to produce too much knowledge. In his key work, The Accursed Share (1991), Bataille elaborates on this idea by showing how ‘verticality’ creates horror and obscenity by virtue of its excessive determinism, the structural imperative that masks the essential nature of horizontal being. Throughout Bataille's thought, the re turn of this axis (horror, baseness, and obscenity) is referred to as that which corrupts the restricted economy It short-circuits the structure of vertical knowledge because it exists within the aneconomic domain, the world beyond exchange value. By concentrating on the eternal re turn of this excessive remainder, Bataille's work on sacrifice argues for Marcel MAUSS’ system as an economy of loss rather than a system of balanced exchange. This theory, which looks at how GIFT EXCHANGE is broken by pure-consumption, followed the position adopted by Bataille on HEGELs phenomenology See DELEUZE, ORDER/DIS-ORDER.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000