Reference : Pleasure and Excess: Using Georges Bataille to Locate an absent pleasure of consumption
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Pleasure and Excess: Using Georges Bataille to Locate an absent pleasure of consumption
Schnuer, Gregor mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
Addiction Research and Theory
Informa UK Ltd
Early Online
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
[en] Addiction ; Bataille ; pleasure ; consumption ; excess ; sovereignty
[en] This article will engage with some recent changes in addiction discourses and research in order to introduce a new version of pleasure. Looking at how addiction research has reframed the ‘addict’ as a socially situated and contingent ‘consumer’, I will try to understand the role of excess in the distinction between ‘normal’ and ‘problematic’ consumption. This distinction remains prevalent, even in recent works on pleasure and drug-use. Pleasure is crucial here, because it is intimately related to consumption, yet has been previously ignored in research. Whereas the previous distinguishing feature of ‘addict’ and ‘non-addict’ can be argued to have been one of ‘production’ and ‘consumption’ (alongside a whole list of other attributes), the current debate seems to focus on various forms of consumption – the pursuit of pleasure through consumption being contentious. I argue that Bataille’s formulation of overwhelming pleasure offers a way of combining excess and pleasure in a manner that is not problematic, further breaking down the distinction between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ consumption. However, at the same time a new dichotomy is created between ‘overwhelming’ and ‘purposive’ pleasure, a distinction that might offer new ways of distinguishing ‘problematic’ and ‘unproblematic’ consumption in relation to druguse. The version of pleasure formulated is argued to be absent in current work looking at pleasure in addiction, and a valuable addition to the growing repertoire of the types of pleasure available to addiction research.

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