New Technologies’ Promise to the Self and the Becoming of the Sacred: Insights from Georges Bataille’s Concept of Transgression

  • Céline RighiEmail author


This article draws on Georges Bataille’s concept of transgression, a key element in Bataille’s theory of the sacred, to highlight structural implications of the way the self-empowerment ethos of new technologies suffuses the digital tracking culture. Pointing to the original conceptual stance of transgression, worked out against prohibition, I first argue that, beyond a critique of new technologies’ promise of self-empowerment as coming at the expense of an acknowledgement of the ultimate taboo—death—is the problem of the sanitizing of the tension between the crossing of the line of the symbolic taboo and prohibition; this undermines a “libidinal investment” towards the sacred, which is central in Bataille’s theory. Second, focussing on “eroticism”, since this embodies the emancipative potential of the Bataillean sacred, I argue that while a fear of eroticism marks out the digital technological realm, this is covered up by the blurring of boundaries between pleasure, fun and sex(iness) that currently governs our experience with technological devices.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarLondonUK

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