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La mort de l'affect dans The Atrocity Exhibition (1970) et Crash (1973) de James G. Ballard, clinicien de son époque

Abstract : The purpose of this article is to study what Ballard calls « the death of affect », a phenomenon which he depicts in an urban universe peopled with characters who have lost the faculty to have feelings and express emotions. According to him, this phenomenon is caused by the times he writes on, the sixties, which he considers as characterized by violence, the explosion of the media landscape and the development of the technological landscape. Two traumas symbolize this violence: the assassination of Kennedy and the war in Vietnam. But by dint of showing and commenting such events up to saturation point, the media impairs the public's capacity to be moved. The media also contributes to give too much value to appearance and posturing. Whether in politics or entertainment, the emotions of public figures are simulated, those of the audience are conditioned. As for the consumer society, it reduces man to a body-as-object, or even a subject to experiment on. All around, a technological landscape made of steel and concrete encourages this change of behaviour, so much so that man identifies himself to the machine, this new sexual partner, this new expression of his pathologies. Adopting a cold dispassionate style, multiplying lists and inventories, Ballard is at one with his subject, which he dissects as a cadaver so as to exorcize his own ghosts.
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Hervé Lagoguey. La mort de l'affect dans The Atrocity Exhibition (1970) et Crash (1973) de James G. Ballard, clinicien de son époque. Savoirs en Prisme, Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche sur les langues et la pensée (CIRLEP), 2017, Les émotions en discours et en image(s). ⟨hal-02549851⟩

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