This article examines how Georges Bataille, one of the celebrated precursors of the postmodern death of a linguistic subject (the subject of the signifier), is also a Nietzschean, pre-Freudian thinker who offers us an account of the birth of an affective subject (the subject of mimesis). If critics still tend to recuperate Bataille within a “metaphysics of the subject,” the present article shows that the central concept of his thought (i.e., “sovereign communication”) needs to be reconsidered in the light of his debt to Pierre Janet’s “psychology of the socius,” an interpersonal psychology that transgresses precisely this metaphysics. In line with contemporary theoretical developments, Bataille’s account of the birth of the subject out of the laughter of the socius offers us a theoretical model to rethink the foundations of subjectivity in relational, mimetic terms.
(2011). Bataille and the Birth of the Subject. Angelaki: Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 73-88.