Excess, Intemperance and Overabundance across Cultures and Literatures
Eroticism: Its Excesses and Deadly Masks in Contemporary Consumer Societies
← 152 | 153 → Ryszard W. WolnyUniversity of Opole
Contemporary capitalist societies are fundamentally and predominately consumer societies, the aim of which is first to generate a need and then to offer a variety of ways of satisfying it. With eroticism the problem is more complex. For long, eroticism has been considered a taboo in Western societies and largely confined to private spheres. Yet, in the times of rapidly developing consumerism in contemporary capitalist societies, both in the West and East, it also became a commodity for sale:
Consumer wants can have bizarre, frivolous, or even immoral origins, and an admirable case can still be made for a society that seeks to satisfy them. But the case cannot stand if it is the process of satisfying wants that creates the wants. (Galbraith ch. 11, sect. 2)
Stemming from Georges Bataille’s renowned formula that eroticism is assenting to life to the point of death, this paper tries to explore various aspects of eroticism that go well beyond the realm of sexuality and uncover eroticism’s multifarious excesses in contemporary consumer societies alongside deadly masks it often wears.
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