Search results for "technology of the self "

Gloss

Author: joe

Wednesday, 06 July, 2011 - 18:50

Today I wrote a glossary for the wellbeing paper I wrote in May, following the comments I got from the reviewers. I had no idea which words to gloss, so I picked the interesting ones; and some were easy to gloss, others were difficult. Here they are.

agency
- the power of acting, or exerting one’s will in order to effect the course of events.
anagnorisis
- Aristotle’s term for ‘recognition’: the crucial moment of realisation in which a person or character either recognises someone’s authentic identity, or senses their own genuine nature, as if for the first time; the discovery or revelation of the truth.
articulation
- more than speaking, to articulate is to be able to connect things and join them together, such as words, sentences, ideas or narrative sequences.
catharsis
- literally, ‘purging’; a term Aristotle borrowed from medicine to refer to the arousal and release of emotion through dramatic narrative.
dialectic
- a heavily burdened word which refers to processes in which divergent views or positions are played out, through argument, conversation, dialogue or conflict, hopefully towards reconciliation; an unfolding of point and counterpoint.
diegesis
- the term borrowed from Greek to refer to the world of a narrative; the internal integrity of the storyworld, which is filled with people, places and customs which belong to that world.
exotopy
- literally meaning ‘outsideness’, this term is used by Mikhail Bakhtin to refer to the ability of an author to ‘speak’ the authentic voices of characters other than their own.
fetishism
- the transference of one’s own agency to a symbolic proxy; e.g. sexual arousal through objects (Freudian fetishism), or allocation of value away from human labour and onto commodities (Marxian commodity fetishism).
hamartia
- mistakes and errors of misrecognition, frequently a crucial element in ancient tragedies whose protagonists often fail to recognise someone they ought to know.
intentionality
- in phenomenology, ‘intentionality’ refers to the ‘directedness’ of conscious experiences: always towards objects, concepts, feelings and perceptions; hence it is related to but not the same as the common understanding which implies purpose and motive.
mimesis
- a Greek term used by Aristotle to refer to the ‘likeness’ of stories to the real world: their imitative capacity.
narratee
- the implied or actual audience to whom a story is directed.
narrative
- at its simplest, a narrative is a telling or re-telling of a series of events which are connected.
narrative configuration
- Louis Mink and Paul Ricoeur use the term ‘configuration’ to refer to the dual act of being able to grasp the different component or sequences of a narrative, while also apprehending the story as a whole, unified structure. Narrators and narratees, authors and readers, writers and audiences, all must be able to see both the figure of the entire story, and the sequences from which it is composed.
polyphony
- a term used by Mikhail Bakhtin to refer to the diversity of languages and voices that are present in the many strata of societies, the different eras of history, or the lines of great literature.
protagonist
- the lead role in the story, the main actor in the drama, the self of the individual’s storyworld.
spect-actor
- Augusto Boal’s terms for the new fusion of spectator and actor he wishes to bring about in both his drama and wider society.
technology of the self
- a term coined by Michel Foucault to refer to the means and techniques by which the self is shaped, both internally by the individual, and externally by influences outside the individual’s control.
unhomeliness
- a neologism created by the translation of Heidegger’s term ‘unheimlich’; I prefer unhomeliness since it implies a non-supernatural lack of a sense of belonging, rather than the word ‘uncanny’ which is sometimes used as a translation.
Verfremdungseffekt
- Brecht’s term for drawing attention to the artifice of dramatic performance - variously translated as ‘defamiliarisation’, ‘estrangement’, ‘alienation’ and ‘distanciation’; a mechanism whereby the illusion of narrative is punctured in order to highlight the highly contingent and constructed nature of stories and their worlds.

Categories: agency, anagnorisis, articulation, catharsis, dialectic, diegesis, exotopy, fetishism, hamartia, intentionality, mimesis, narratee, narrative, narrative configuration, polyphony, protagonist, spect-actor, technology of the self, Verfremdungseffekt,
Comments: 0

stethoscope - fragment

Author: joe

Monday, 06 July, 2009 - 23:44

In discussion with Fran - we were going through a box of old and antiquated medical instruments he'd collected, objects of curiosity, memory and history - we noted how the stethoscope serves not only to provide a 'virtual world' as Jonathan Sterne puts it (an acoustical representation), but acts as a sort of 'distantiation device' - a prop which helps the doctor to adopt a role and enter into the performance in which the human body is objectified.

Placing a mediating device between two human beings facilitates the creation of a subject who manipulates an object. We parcel off the problem-of-the-body into an objectified, if not objective, realm which we believe is transcended by the physical theatre of the stethoscope itself, and the disembodied, privileged knowledge of the physician. We defer our formal discomfort by effacing our embodied being.

I imagine a time-lapse evolution depicting the history of the stethoscope: play it in reverse and the long looping cord shortens and hardens into a trumpet; the forceps-like earpieces exit the ear, fuse and widen into the mouth of a horn; the bell and diaphragm device contrived for human contact simplifies into a chest piece with a hole. Then, finally, the whole instrument disappears and the physicians ear falls onto the patient's chest in a tight human embrace.

Categories: stethoscope, technology, distantiation, present-at-hand, Martin Heidegger, Jonathan Sterne, embodiment, performance,
Comments: 1

The artist as a prophet of his own legacy

Author: joe

Tuesday, 03 October, 2006 - 06:50

I caught the last half hour or so of BBC4's showing of Hereafter, a biopic of the pianist Glenn Gould, and was sorry not to have seen it all. I will almost certainly need to buy this DVD.

What I did manage to see was an interview with him in which he was talking about recordings of his work versus live performance. The interviewer was laying it on very thickly about how nothing compares to the live performance. Gould, however, was having none of it. We've always been subservient to the performer, who calls all the shots. Now, anyone can control how they consume these performances. Never mind the fact that the phone might ring. How many more people get to hear it at all, and isn't that recompense for the lost aura of the live performance?

Pleasingly, you can see loads of Glenn Gould performances on YouTube right now. His Goldberg Variations is amazing. And I think he would have approved.

Categories: glenn-gould, piano, technology, aura,
Comments: 4

The Witchhunt Tendency

Author: joe

Thursday, 29 September, 2005 - 06:50

Watching Scorsese's biopic of Bob Dylan, 'No Direction Home', one thing stuck out was the fact that guidelines issued to the FBI on recognising communists was that they might be carrying guitars.

This pattern - that a person's use of technologies of communication sifgnifies their nefarious intent - is repeated endlessly, most recently in the case of a man with an interest computers and telecoms who became a suspected terrorist.

And today I hear that a man who heckled Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, at the Labour Party conference, was held under the Terrorism Act.

Guitars, amateur radio kit, and now your very voice, are all weapons of dissent which you may want to think about twice before using.

Categories: terror, technology, media, witchhunt,
Comments: 3