Shock, Illusion, and the Commodification of Experience: Walter Benjamin's Theory of Modernity

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) theorized how modern technologies and consumer culture condition our relationships to self, other, and world. What he called our "impoverishment of experience" registered not only an anaesthetization of our sensory capacities by dint of “shock,” but also, so I argue, how sensibility itself comes to be derived, borrowed from others’ eyes, including from the attitudes and dispositions of media personalities. My project highlights three concepts of Benjamin’s that comprise this condition: shock, phantasmagoria (‘illusion’), and mimesis. To clarify how these notions interrelate, I analyze Benjamin's social-critical writings over the backdrop of his early speculative philosophy of experience.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Kirkham, Nin, Supervisor
  • Hughes-D'Aeth, Tony, Supervisor
  • Flanagan, Tim, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date29 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusUnpublished - 2023

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