PECULIAR THEORY: THE PROBLEM OF PHILOSOPHY IN SIEGFRIED KRACAUER’S THEORY OF FILM

Warr, Nicholas Alexander (2013) PECULIAR THEORY: THE PROBLEM OF PHILOSOPHY IN SIEGFRIED KRACAUER’S THEORY OF FILM. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT
The republication of Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality by Siegfried
Kracauer (1889 – 1966) in 1997 marked not just the highpoint of a period of renewed
interest in his work, a period initiated by a series of events organized to mark the centenary
of his birth, but also the limit of his scholarly influence. Though enthusiasm for his early
sociological and cultural criticism written in Frankfurt and Berlin during the 1920s and
1930s continues to permeate research in numerous other disciplines within the humanities,
his film theory continues to have little or no impact on the debates that currently define film
studies. The reason for this, I argue, relates to the problematic role of philosophy in his film
theory. Focusing primarily on Theory of Film, I examine in detail what makes Kracauer’s
theory peculiar; peculiar in the sense that it belongs specifically to the film medium and
peculiar in regard to the ambiguous philosophical claims that distinguish it from subsequent
methods of film analysis. The contemporary image of Kracauer as a cultural philosopher, I
argue, restricts how we read the relationship between film and philosophy in his work. I
propose that from the perspective of the contemporary film-philosophy debate a critical
notion of the cinematic can be restored to all facets of his work enabling a clearer
understanding of how Kracauer comprehends the relationship between the filmmaker,
spectator and film theorist. In turn, I conclude, this review of Kracauer’s cinematic
approach as a democratised form of critical agency will benefit the understanding of
philosophy and film theory as related forms of social practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Film,Television and Media
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2014 10:23
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2014 10:23
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/47906
DOI:

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