[-empyre-] love and sacrifice

Nicholas Ruiz III editor at intertheory.org
Tue Oct 7 10:26:40 EST 2008

The signs of love are ubiquitous...we are assaulted by
'love'...it's superfecundity...perhaps this, alone, is
its content?  Or else, we might ask, why hasn't it
already disappeared, like, some might say, God?

The love of exclusion by sacrifice, a sort of
scapegoating, can be traced at least as far back as
the ideology of ancient near east...via the scapegoat
sacrifice, where the love or desire for a certain
outcome is ensured by sending an animal off to its
destruction, or of course, more directly, by bleeding
an animal or human sacrifice. 

Considering some theses that posit 'love' as tainted
with exclusivity of a religious variety (e.g. Girard's
'Violence and the Sacred,' Bataille's 'The Cruel
Practice of Art' or Nirenberg's 'The Politics of Love
and its Enemies' Critical Inquiry, V.33, No.3, 2007)
that is, love generates enemies by exclusion; the
loved excludes the unloved...we might ask: does love
render solely an aporetic circumstance of human


> forwarded by our guest contributor, Owen Ware:
> "Once a discourse is thus driven by its own momentum
> into the backwater of the 'unreal', exiled from all
> gregarity, it has no recourse but to become the
> site,
> however exiguous, of an affirmation."
> - Roland Barthes, A Lover?s Discourse
> Thirty years after Barthes wrote these words, we
> must
> ask: Can theory carry out this task of affirmation
> today?  What conceptual resources are now available
> to
> bring love and its discourse back from exile?   
> The resources are multiple: we can speak of the
> experience of love (phenomenology), its performative
> forces (speech-act theory), its tensions in ethics
> and
> politics (feminism, Marxism, deconstruction).   
> But how do these resources become a site of
> affirmation?  That is the question - and perhaps the
> task - of thinking through the various  
> meanings, practices, and performances of love.
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> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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