Foundations of the Everyday: Shock, Deferral, Repetition

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The compulsive quality of repetition existing beyond the pleasure principle provides a space for him to explore Freud's account of trauma as a rupture or breach in the defense of the psyche, which is ultimately traceable to a primordial -- indeed, prehistoric -- trauma that brings about life itself Against this scenario, anxiety assumes a central place in the structure of subjective life.

Anxiety materialises here as the means through which the over-production of stimulus from the external world is internalised, and thereby domesticated, through displacing the object of anxiety. Dorfman weaves the strands of Freud's thought with his own analysis on the everyday, developing these lines of thought through trauma theory in the work of Cathy Caruth.

Dorfman's claim is that Freud is ultimately a theoretician of shock rather than trauma, the difference being that shock diffuses itself less definably in place and time whereas trauma tends to remain hinged at one point This psychoanalysis of shock, as it were, explains in part how culture itself is the work of shock even if -- or especially if -- no such symptoms are present. As a reader of Freud, Dorfman is incisive and lucid though the omission of Freud's essay on the uncanny is striking, as is that of the lesser known essay "A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis.

Nonetheless, these readings only take form when situated within the remainder of the book, which returns the Freudian themes back to their everyday context; that is, through the work of Benjamin.


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  8. The final two chapters set about extending the Freudian framework to modernity. Dorfman's motivation for turning to Benjamin is to understand the relation between the everyday, repetition and mass production, and how these relations shape personal identity The account of the "decline of the aura," which is central to Benjamin's thinking in turn becomes instructive for Dorfman, too.


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    To see this, Dorfman begins with the distinction found in Benjamin between "long experience" and "immediate experience" The function of the immediate experience is to "parry" shock before it reaches the level of unconsciousness, where it will leave its trace. Thus, the task of this initial shock is to receive stimulus in such a way that it can be controlled precisely through rendering the stimulus an object of experience, manifest therein as a voluntary memory rather than something that haunts both involuntary memory and unconsciousness at once This explains, for Dorfman, "why the modern everyday is full of 'events' or 'shocks' that nevertheless leave the impression that nothing 'happens'" The critical question in this discussion -- and indeed throughout the book -- concerns whether or not shock can be integrated in and through deferral rather than taken up and therefore nullified through immediate experience.

    Dorfman resists providing any clear answers to this question but traces the outline of a response through his own working of Benjamin's concept of the aura, which he terms "the aura of the habitual" In the final chapter, Dorfman develops this concept of the everyday aura, which is placed at the constantly moving intersection between the strange and the familiar, colliding at all times with multiplies timescales, each of which constitutes the foundation of the everyday.

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    The photographs in this series consist of several women -- in fact, all of them are the artist in disguise -- immersed in everyday activities, yet Dorfman finds something within these images that "transcends the everyday and gives it a cinematic allure" In one image, a woman retrieves a book in a library, but her gaze, instead of being drawn to the book, is instead orientated at a point outside the frame.

    Dorfman interprets these series of images as disconnections of body parts, such that each part is thrown into question with one another. This corporeal dislocation also reveals a cultural and social dimension in that what is mirrored in the image is "both the event and the everyday being defined through each other, overcoming their modern opposition" Such encounters give rise to an everyday aura, an aura situated in the "meeting point of familiarity and strangeness, habituation and shock" With his rich descriptions of Sherman's angels echoing Paul Klee's celebrated Angelus Novus , Dorfman's book ends with an oddly phenomenological turn, and indeed he is at his strongest when writing in a phenomenological tone.

    Eran Dorfman: Foundations of the everyday, shock, deferral, repetition

    On this point, one wonders to what extent Dorfman's valuable concept of the "the aura of the habitual" could be extended through engaging more directly with Merleau-Ponty's account of the artwork. The book thus offers a novel understanding of being, body, trauma and shock, but within the framework of the everyday as a concept that deserves a theory of its very own.

    Series: Philosophical Projections. Dorfman clearly and imaginatively weaves together a variety of authors and phenomena, whose interrelation would by no means be apparent at first glance.

    Book/foundations Of The Everyday Shock Deferral Repetition

    Foundations is a landmark in philosophical reflections on the everyday, as well as indispensable reading for those interested in modernity and trauma studies. His critical analysis of the modern life-world is remarkably free of all nostalgic undertones and binary ideological oppositions. A rich, highly original, and clearly written book that will change your way of thinking! The Monster Bookshop is an online bookshop established in is committed to offering great savings on used and new books. Over 2 million satisfied customers, we currently offer a fantastic range of , books from rare 19th century antiquarian books, to your childhood favourites to the latest bestsellers!

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