In A Philosophy of Luxury, Lambert Wiesing, chair of Image Theory and Phenomenology at the Friedrich Schiller University, makes the case that luxury is what makes us human and that if we were to entirely abandon the world of the luxurious we would find ourselves cast into either a state of nature inhabited by beasts or a computational dystopia of hyper-rational barbarians. Starting with the work of Friedrich Schiller, Wiesing explains that there are moments when humans become acutely aware of their own humanity. He explains that Schiller links these moments of self-consciousness to play, which fuses the sensuality of the beast and the rationality of the barbarian in a third state that is more than either animality or computation, by virtue of the way in which it opens out onto the uncertainty of the future. In these moments of play, when instrumental...
The Utopianism of Luxury
Mark Featherstone is senior lecturer in sociology at Keele University. He is author of Tocqueville’s Virus: Utopia and Dystopia in Western Social and Political Theory (2007) and Planet Utopia: Utopia, Dystopia, and the Global Imaginary (2017) and editor of The Sociology of Debt (2019) and Writing the Body Politic: A John O’Neill Reader (2019).
Mark Featherstone; The Utopianism of Luxury. Cultural Politics 1 July 2020; 16 (2): 270–273. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-8233448
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