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.