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    Adorno, dada and the philistine: the immanent negation of the institution of art

    Ingram, Paul (2020) Adorno, dada and the philistine: the immanent negation of the institution of art. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis uses the figure of the philistine to stage a critical encounter between the aesthetic theory of Theodor Adorno and the anti-art of Dada. The introduction prepares for this argument by tracing the development of the concept of the philistine over time. In the first chapter, Adorno’s aesthetic theory is delineated negatively, reconstructed on the basis of a wide-ranging survey of the references to the philistine in his work. His dialectical conception of this figure is pushed further, and brought to bear critically on his own blindnesses, aporias and exclusions. The second chapter explores how these limitations are manifested in his flawed interpretation of Dada, advancing an alternative reading of the movement, with recourse to counterexamples of its creative practice. The third chapter deepens this interpretation through a series of case studies, in which the philistine acts as the symbolic representation of different versions of anti-art. These analyses extend the theorization of the philistine to complete the critique of Adorno. However, Dada is also critically evaluated according to the model of the philistine derived from him, conceptualized as the immanent negation of art, now amended slightly to the immanent negation of the institution of art. The conclusion reflects on the methodological implications of this argument, and considers the wider applicability of the revised aesthetic theory which has emerged from it. In this critical encounter, Adorno’s and Dada’s shared negativity is the point of convergence in which the opposed notions of aesthetic autonomy and the institutionality of art are mediated as extremes.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 15:15
    Last Modified: 25 Sep 2023 12:06


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