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EMPATHY ON ROUTE TO MOURNING IN EARLY BENJAMIN / Tatjana Jukić.

By: Jukić, Tatjana.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticlePublisher: 2017Description: .Other title: EMPATHY ON ROUTE TO MOURNING IN EARLY BENJAMIN [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | empathy, mourning, Walter Benjamin, modernity, critical theory | empathy, mourning, Walter Benjamin, modernity, critical theoryOnline resources: Click here to access online In: Empathies. 11th Conference of the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts. Basel, Švicarska, 21-24.06.2017Summary: In „The Life of Students“, an essay he wrote in 1915, Walter Benjamin contrasts empathy (Einfühlung) with a more critical engagement of communal and political life in modernity. Empathy by this account would not properly engage political modernity ; Ilit Ferber (2013) calls attention to this particular grouping in early Benjamin. In my presentation I begin with the proposition that the engagement thus contrasted with empathy betrays an affinity with Benjamin’s ideation of mourning in The Origin of the German Mourning Play, the suggestion being that empathy provides a backdrop against which mourning in Benjamin takes shape as a peculiar semiosis. Secondly, my argument is that mourning in early Benjamin, even as it professedly cancels empathy, caters to the same structure of subjectivity, so that mourning and empathy reinforce in fact the same modern subject. Finally, I will analyze how this subject – and Benjamin by extension – depends on reconstituting and normalizing melancholia, in the position where melancholia may herald a (political) theory of sympathy.
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In „The Life of Students“, an essay he wrote in 1915, Walter Benjamin contrasts empathy (Einfühlung) with a more critical engagement of communal and political life in modernity. Empathy by this account would not properly engage political modernity ; Ilit Ferber (2013) calls attention to this particular grouping in early Benjamin. In my presentation I begin with the proposition that the engagement thus contrasted with empathy betrays an affinity with Benjamin’s ideation of mourning in The Origin of the German Mourning Play, the suggestion being that empathy provides a backdrop against which mourning in Benjamin takes shape as a peculiar semiosis. Secondly, my argument is that mourning in early Benjamin, even as it professedly cancels empathy, caters to the same structure of subjectivity, so that mourning and empathy reinforce in fact the same modern subject. Finally, I will analyze how this subject – and Benjamin by extension – depends on reconstituting and normalizing melancholia, in the position where melancholia may herald a (political) theory of sympathy.

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