The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics

The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics

by Jane Bennett, Jane Bennett
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691088136

ISBN-13: 9780691088136

Pub. Date: 07/16/2001

Publisher: Princeton University Press

It is a commonplace that the modern world cannot be experienced as enchanted—that the very concept of enchantment belongs to past ages of superstition. Jane Bennett challenges that view. She seeks to rehabilitate enchantment, showing not only how it is still possible to experience genuine wonder, but how such experience is crucial to motivating ethical

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Overview

It is a commonplace that the modern world cannot be experienced as enchanted—that the very concept of enchantment belongs to past ages of superstition. Jane Bennett challenges that view. She seeks to rehabilitate enchantment, showing not only how it is still possible to experience genuine wonder, but how such experience is crucial to motivating ethical behavior. A creative blend of political theory, philosophy, and literary studies, this book is a powerful and innovative contribution to an emerging interdisciplinary conversation about the deep connections between ethics, aesthetics, and politics.

As Bennett describes it, enchantment is a sense of openness to the unusual, the captivating, and the disturbing in everyday life. She guides us through a wide and often surprising range of sources of enchantment, showing that we can still find enchantment in nature, for example, but also in such unexpected places as modern technology, advertising, and even bureaucracy. She then explains how everyday moments of enchantment can be cultivated to build an ethics of generosity, stimulating the emotional energy and honing the perceptual refinement necessary to follow moral codes. Throughout, Bennett draws on thinkers and writers as diverse as Kant, Schiller, Thoreau, Kafka, Marx, Weber, Adorno, and Deleuze. With its range and daring, The Enchantment of Modern Life is a provocative challenge to the centuries-old ''narrative of disenchantment,'' one that presents a new ''alter-tale'' that discloses our profound attachment to the human and nonhuman world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691088136
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/16/2001
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,043,347
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.57(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1The Wonder of Minor Experience3
Queasiness3
A Brief Phenomenology of Enchantment5
Reuse and Recycle6
Enchantment without Design9
Joyful Attachment12
How the Story Goes13
2Cross-Species Encounters17
Crossings and Enchantment17
Andoar's Transcendence18
Rotpeter's Way Out19
Alex Changes the Subject21
Body without Organs24
My Wager28
Marvels and Monsters30
3The Marvelous Worlds of Paracelsus, Kant, and Deleuze33
The Satyrion Root34
Enchantment and Repetition36
Kantian Wonders40
Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Thinker49
4Disenchantment Tales56
"It's a Calculable World,"57
"Disenchantment without Regret,"65
"An Ethics of Finitude"75
Toward an Enchanted Materialism80
5Complexity and Enchantment91
Thoreau's Nature92
Latour's Network95
The Return of the Swerve99
Lawful Nature as a Regulative Ideal102
The Bifurcation Point as a Swerve103
Social Complexity and Kafkaesque Enchantment104
6Commodity Fetishism and Commodity Enchantment111
Swinging Khakis111
The Dangers of Commodity Culture114
The Commodity as Fetish116
Marx and the Swerve119
The Critical Potential of (Commercial) Art121
Affect and Thought124
Repetition126
Yea Saying127
The Limits of Refusal128
7Ethical Energetics131
The Aesthetic Disposition131
Moral Sentiments133
Aesthetic Play and the Barbarism of Reason137
Schiller to Foucault: Micropractices of Ethics144
The Dangers of Aestheticization148
Language and the Code Dimension of Ethics152
The Ethics of Enchanted Materialism156
8Attachments and Refrains159
Enchantment as a Weak Ontology160
The Sonorous Cosmos166
Attachment as a Gift168
Plants, Ants, Robopets, and Other Enchanting Things169
Notes175
Index209

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