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Houellebecq, or, the carnival of spite

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal for Cultural Research
Issue number1
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)57-73
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Despite their significance in social reality and in fiction, ressentiment and especially spite are surprisingly under‐researched topics. As the repressed other of the contemporary post‐political society, they often combine political impotence and enjoyment in passivity, two experiences that are closely related to the increasing transformation of the “city” into the state of nature, of politics to bio‐politics (or post‐politics) and of the “social” into the simulacra (the society of spectacle). The article discusses ressentiment and spite in Houellebecq's fiction, by taking point of departure in the way he depicts the contemporary society, combining this with a discussion of his artistic position and the affective economy of ressentiment and spite in his work. Finally it asks whether it is possible to imagine a sociality, a “city,” without spite.