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Primitivism, Transgression, and other Myths: The Philosophical Anthropology of Georges Bataille

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dc.contributor.advisor Hart, Laurie Kain
dc.contributor.advisor Wright, Kathleen Fechter, John 2007-05-22T19:43:37Z 2007-05-22T19:43:37Z 2007
dc.description.abstract This essay reviews some of the anthropological theories and ethnographic interpretations offered to us by the 20th Century French writer and philosopher Georges Bataille. As a writer, Bataille is both the product of his own historical environment as well as the object of intense contemporary philosophical and literary reappropriation by others; at the same time, however, he is also a writer whose own original philosophy has helped shape the boundaries of these same disciplines. Accordingly, an introductory section sets this scene for Bataille’s ideas about societies both “primitive” and modern. At the beginning of his philosophical career, Bataille shifts from an interest in the cultural impurities of sacrificial or primitive behaviors to a more abstract philosophy of "the sacred" or "the primitive" as an element of all social life. As such Bataille has become an attractively transgressive writer for contemporary scholars. A second section examines the mythical quality of Bataille’s writings on prehistoric origins, arguing that his need for origin myths is shared by the anthropology with which Bataille was engaged. A third section looks more closely at examples from so-called primitive societies in Bataille’s work The Accursed Share, arguing that these examples fill a problematic gap in his theory between myth-like natural and cultural origins. A short concluding section finds that Bataille’s orientation has much in common with his contemporary anthropologists, but that Bataille's philosophy will mean that he must ultimately depart from an empirical examination of other societies. en
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Dept. of Philosophy en
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Dept. of Anthropology
dc.format.extent 933042 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.subject.lcsh Bataille, Georges, 1897-1962 -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.subject.lcsh Bataille, Georges, 1897-1962. Part maudite
dc.title Primitivism, Transgression, and other Myths: The Philosophical Anthropology of Georges Bataille en
dc.type Thesis (B.A.) en
dc.rights.access Open Access

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