First published in 1974, Libidinal Economy is a major work of twentieth century continental philosophy. In it, Lyotard develops the idea of economies driven by libidinal `energies' or `intensities' which he claims flow through all structures, such as the human body and political or social events. He uses this idea to interpret a diverse range of subjects including political economy, Marxism, sexual politics, semiotics and psychoanalysis. Lyotard also carries out a broad critique of philosophies of desire, as expounded by Deleuze and Guattari, Nietzsche, Bataille, Foucault and de Sade.
Jean-Francois Lyotard (1924-1998) was Professor of Philosophy at several institutes of higher learning in Paris and at the University of California. A member of the radical group Socialisme ou Barbarie, he later went on to become one of the founding figures of postmodernism with his work The Postmodern Condition.