The European Legacy 22 (2):163-184 (2017)

This article examines recent scholarly work on boredom by drawing on Mikhail Bakhtin’s account of modernity, irony, and mass skepticism. In The Arcades Project, Walter Benjamin noted that, beginning in the 1840s, Western societies had been gripped by an “epidemic of boredom.” He was referring to a peculiarly modern form of mass boredom, associated with the “atrophy of experience” in a mechanized and urbanized social life—a boredom Elizabeth S. Goodstein has characterized as the “democratization of skepticism.” Although Bakhtin says little about “boredom” directly, he probes the sociocultural conditions that give rise to it. Bakhtin, for example, celebrates the liberatory and egalitarian promise of modern vernacular speech, which displays a healthy suspicion of “monotonic” qualities of elite genres, and which springs not from the pulpit or the palace, but from the street, the marketplace and the public square. Bakhtin is concerned about the nihilistic implications of this disenchantment of the world and the threats it poses—indifference, reification and alienation—to the “participative” mode of social life he favours.
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DOI 10.1080/10848770.2016.1262091
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References found in this work BETA

Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics.Mikhail Bakhtin - 1984 - Univ of Minnesota Press.
The Arcades Project.Walter Benjamin, Howard Eiland & Kevin Mclaughlin - 1999 - Science and Society 65 (2):243-246.
Toward a Philosophy of the Act.M. M. Bakhtin - 1993 - University of Texas Press.

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