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Title: Peculiar theory : the problem of philosophy in Siegfried Kracauer's 'Theory of Film'
Author: Warr, Nicholas Alexander
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2013
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available