Download René Girard's Mimetic Theory by Wolfgang Palaver PDF

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By Wolfgang Palaver

A scientific creation into the mimetic concept of the French-American literary theorist and philosophical anthropologist René Girard, this crucial textual content explains its 3 major pillars (mimetic hope, the scapegoat mechanism, and the Biblical “difference”) with the aid of examples from literature and philosophy. This ebook additionally deals an summary of René Girard’s existence and paintings, displaying how a lot mimetic idea effects from existential and non secular insights into one’s personal mimetic entanglements. in addition it examines the wider implications of Girard’s theories, from the mimetic element of sovereignty and wars to the connection among the scapegoat mechanism and the query of capital punishment. Mimetic thought is put in the context of present cultural and political debates just like the dating among faith and modernity, terrorism, the loss of life penalty, and gender concerns. Drawing textual examples from eu literature (Cervantes, Shakespeare, Goethe, Kleist, Stendhal, hurricane, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Proust) and philosophy (Plato, Camus, Sartre, Lévi-Strauss, Derrida, Vattimo), Palaver makes use of mimetic conception to discover the subjects they current. A hugely available publication, this article is complemented by way of bibliographical references to Girard’s frequent paintings and secondary literature on mimetic idea and its purposes, comprising a precious bibliographical archive that offers the reader with an summary of the improvement and dialogue of mimetic concept until eventually the current day.

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Sample text

It reflects the realities of the transition of monopoly capitalism into a more purely consumer stage on what is for the first time a global scale; and it tries to take advantage of the emergence of this new stage of monopoly capitalism to suggest that classical Marxist economics is no longer applicable. According to this argument, a social homogenization is taking place in which the older class differences are disappearing, and which can be described either as the embourgeoisement of the worker, or better still, the transformation of both bourgeois and worker into that new grey organization person known as the consumer.

This fundamental requirement we will call, now borrowing a term from Freud rather than from Marx, the requirement of figurability, the need for social reality and everyday life to have developed to the point at which its underlying class structure becomes representable in tangible form. The point can be made in a different way by underscoring the unexpectedly vital role that culture would be called on to play in such a process, culture not only as an instrument of self-consciousness but even before that as a symptom and a sign of possible self-consciousness in the first place.

In mass culture, repetition effectively volatilizes the original object—the “text,” the “work of art”—so that the student of mass culture has no primary object of study. The most striking demonstration of this process can be witnessed in our reception of contemporary pop music of whatever type—the various kinds of rock, blues, country western, or disco. I will argue that we never hear any of the singles produced in these genres “for the first time”; instead, we live a constant exposure to them in all kinds of different situations, from the steady beat of the car radio through the sounds at lunch, or in the work place, or in shopping centers, all the way to those apparently full-dress performances of the “work” in a nightclub or stadium concert or on the records you buy and take home to hear.

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