The City, the Player: Walter Benjamin and the Origin of Figurative Sociology

Diogenes 34 (134):45-59 (1986)
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Abstract

If we attempt to unify the theoretical efforts that appreciate a specific social activity in play, we can sketch the perspective of an entire anthropology of play into cohesive parts deriving from the knowledge of collective experience. This preoccupation is, in fact, two-fold. On the one hand is the comprehensive description of the relationship between life styles and their stylizations in everyday practices and customs as well as in cultural works, and on the other are social sensitivities and representations that are relatively shared by individuals grouped in human communities. This very general framework encourages situating the presence of play as one of the concrete manifestations of an emotional core, converting primitively negative impulses into attractive forces which, because of this, becomes the seat of all human interaction and agitation, the energetic heart of social power.

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