The currency of desire : libidinal economy, psychoanalysis and sexual revolution / David Bennett.

  • Bennett, David, 1949-
  • Books

About this work


Metaphors of money have shaped theories of sexual psychology ever since Enlightenment doctors explained the mind-body as an 'animal economy' whose currency was desire, figured as a liquid form of energy that could be spent or saved, profitably invested or pleasurably squandered.In this erudite and groundbreaking book, David Bennett explores the power of economic language to mould both scientific and popular thinking about desire from the eighteenth century to the present, on topics as disparate as onanism and advertising, psychoanalysis and shopping, Christianity and communism, prostitution and revolution.The Currency of Desire combines intellectual history with modern critical theory to shed new light on the interactions between money and desire, homo oeconomicus and homo psychologicus -- Provided by the publisher.


London : Lawrence and Wishart, 2016.

Physical description

vii, 314 pages : black and white illustrations ; 22 cm


Introduction: libidinal economy before Freud and after neoliberalism -- Consumer culture and the sovereign spender: Sade, Freud, Bataille and Lawrence -- The libidinal economy of advertising: psychoanalysis and the invention of the consumer unconscious -- Compulsive spending and the trope of the prostitute as proto-revolutionary: Parent-Duchatelet, Reich, Bataille, Marcuse, Marx and Lyotard -- 'Revolution is the orgasm of history': two theories of revolutionary libidinal economy -- Libidinal communists and sexual revolutionaries, part I: the Oneida community (1848-1880), with a digression on electrifying sex -- Libidinal communists and sexual revolutionaries, part II: the Friedrichsof Commune (1972-1990), a with a reflection on Keynesianism -- Psychoanalysis, post-communism and the black economy.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 270-295) and index.


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9781907103575
  • 1907103570