- College of Sociology
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- College of Sociology
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- Georges Bataille | Progressive Geographies
College of Sociology
In so doing, they can free themselves from the burdens that loom over their lives and that threaten to subvert the social equilibrium. The aim of the festival is to rebuild the order of the world. Suspending the distinction between the sacred and the profane means artificially recreating the condition of that primordial chaos from which every human community stems.
By means of the act of sacrificing either their most precious belongings or even their own lives , people can finally overcome the division between these two realms and therefore re-establish this same division on a new level — having discharged any and all accumulated burdens. Since one of the main characteristics of this age is the elimination of any distinction between the sacred and the profane, and therefore also between a work day and a holy day, it follows that in this context there is no way to discharge the accumulated social burdens that remain dangerously present within society.
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What is the consequence of this inability to discharge? In other words, when individuals are unable to surrender their individuality and blend into the crowd that animates the festival, they end up 45 HEGEL , The supercivilization essay dates back to the s, when Czechoslovakia was facing the hardest years of Stalinism.
This concealment causes a schizophrenic dichotomy between private and public life. Externally the contrast is actually fixed, as no one has the opportunity to build a solid private dimension any more. Nonetheless, in no way does this entail the cancellation of the difference between the private opinion and the point of view that is publically manifested.
On the contrary, humans are more torn apart than ever by the principle of their private economic interest. We saw how sacrifice can be defined as a force which lies on the threshold between the sacred and the profane, always regulating both their proximity and their division. Whenever it is carried out within modern civilization — which collapses the sharp division between the sacred and the profane 47 See CANETTI , ff.
In a political system that is grounded on a principle of monolithic authority, anything that can reignite the heterogeneous aspects of the social structure becomes a disturbing element; it is no longer a fundamental component of a community life, but something that must be silenced and suppressed — whatever the cost.
Conclusion: A Sacrificial Community? In the delicate political situation of interwar France, this intellectual project aimed at warning the public against the emerging totalitarian ideologies that were spreading throughout Europe.
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We cannot conclusively answer this question. This question is as relevant today as ever, in light of the continuous re-emergence of irrational forces and passions within public debate, and of the misuse that political factions make of them.
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A proper sacrifice means for him preserving the shattering and destabilizing character with which sacrificing is necessarily endowed. This also means avoiding the instrumentalisation of sacrifice for political gain. For example, we can imagine ideological and violent outcomes of sacrifice that aim not at the destabilization of crystallized social structures, but instead at the imposition of reinforced, reactionary regimes.
Maintaining the authenticity of sacrifice means rejecting any misuse or violent appropriation of it. Critique, 44, The Unavowable Community. Minotaure, 7, , Man and the Sacred. Urbana-Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Paris: Gallimard. Crowds and Power. New York: Continuum. Donner la mort.
College of Sociology
DODD, J. In Religion, War, and the Crisis of Modernity. Hagedorn and J. New York: Fordham University Press. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. New York: The Free Press. New York: Harcourt.
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Phenomenology of Spirit. Oxford: Clarendon Press. New York: Harper Collins. The members of the College were united in their dissatisfaction with surrealism. They believed that surrealism's focus on the unconscious privileged the individual over society, and obscured the social dimension of human experience.
Georges Bataille | Progressive Geographies
In contrast to this, the members of the College focused on "Sacred Sociology, implying the study of all manifestations of social existence where the active presence of the sacred is clear. It was here, in moments of intense communal experience, rather than the individualistic dreams and reveries of surrealism, that the College of Sociology sought the essence of humanity. The group met for two years and lectured on many topics, including the structure of the army , the Marquis de Sade , English monarchy , literature , sexuality , Hitler , and Hegel.
The members of the College were united in their dissatisfaction with surrealism. They believed that surrealism's focus on the unconscious privileged the individual over society, and obscured the social dimension of human experience. In contrast to this, the members of the College focused on "Sacred Sociology, implying the study of all manifestations of social existence where the active presence of the sacred is clear.
It was here, in moments of intense communal experience, rather than the individualistic dreams and reveries of surrealism, that the College of Sociology sought the essence of humanity. The group met for two years and lectured on many topics, including the structure of the army , the Marquis de Sade , English monarchy , literature , sexuality , Hitler , and Hegel.