Social Dissonance, 149–191


Externalising Alienation


The traditional role of alienation in aesthetics has been to challenge preconceptions. Directly connected to the avant-garde and to modernism, it has been employed to disrupt assumptions in regard to form, autonomy and the subject of reception. My claim here is that a reconsidered use of alienation in aesthetics can serve to expose certain problematics in which our senses and our self-conceptions are articulated with the structural determinations produced by capitalist relations. In doing so, will allow us to investigate the complex relationship between spectral objectivity and phantom subjectivity. The previous chapter introduced ‘externalising alienation’ as a term for this exploration into the ways in which alienation from above and alienation from below relate to each other. ‘Externalising’ here means confronting social dissonance, i.e. the consequences of previous forms of alienation, with the understanding that their effects are part of a historical process, and that entering into social dissonance is an irreversible process because it involves leaving behind established conceptions of internality and selfhood.…