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Naturalized Modernity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a mapping of 'naturalized modernity' and uses Murakami Haruki as a principle guide. While Benjamin is the theorist of modernity who most explicitly has based his theory on the experience of shock, Murakami is the paragon of a writer in whose fiction contemporary society is precisely not shocking. By contrasting them, the author shows how crucial the presence or absence of shock is in shaping the perception of modernity, how it defines what dilemmas are experienced as central and influences the strategies applied to deal with them. The comparison is especially apt because of the many strikingly similar concerns one finds in Benjamin and Murakami. Both are centrally preoccupied by motifs such as language, memory and mourning, both regard individual experience as threatened by the capitalist system. Naturalization does not mark any irreversible transition away from the shock-modernity of Benjamin.

Keywords: Benjamin; capitalist system; Murakami Haruki; naturalized modernity; shock-modernity



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