23. The Missing Link

Homo Economicus (Reading Foucault and Bataille Together)

  1. Christopher Falzon1,
  2. Timothy O'Leary2 and
  3. Jana Sawicki3
  1. Shannon Winnubst

Published Online: 5 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch23

A Companion to Foucault

A Companion to Foucault

How to Cite

Winnubst, S. (2013) The Missing Link, in A Companion to Foucault (eds C. Falzon, T. O'Leary and J. Sawicki), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324905.ch23

Editor Information

  1. 1

    University of Newcastle, Australia

  2. 2

    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  3. 3

    Williams College, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 12 MAR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334067

Online ISBN: 9781118324905



  • Bataille;
  • biopolitics;
  • Foucault;
  • homo economicus;
  • neoliberalism


Michel Foucault wrote only one essay explicitly on the work of Georges Bataille, “A Preface to Transgression.” The influence of Bataille on Foucault's thinking is so formative that it simply goes unmarked in his texts. In the terms of his work on locating moments of that insubordinate jouissance in various historical terms, Bataille frames insubordinate jouissance as acts of consumption that are a part of all societies. The author develops a reading of Bataille's Accursed Share alongside Foucault's lectures on neoliberalism, The Birth of Biopolitics, not only to develop an example of the benefits of reading these two thinkers together, but also to argue that they help us see how homo economicus is a crucial link in our thinking about twentieth-century biopolitics.