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ERIC Number: EJ1037803
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-1881-4832
Walter Benjamin's Conception of Experience: A Way of Thinking about Otherness in Educational Context
Tsuji, Atsuko
Educational Studies in Japan: International Yearbook, n8 p107-116 Mar 2014
In the context of educational practice and research, the individual is often understood in terms of autonomy. From this point of view, we will see our experience as cumulative, as inside of us, and as strengthening us against others. It means that the conception of experience tends to be understood primarily in relation to usefulness. In search of aspects of experience that are different from this kind of understanding, this paper scrutinises Walter Benjamin's conception of experience, as expressed in his essay on Proust, in order to bring to light the most vivid aspects of experience. It begins by explaining the modern situation, in which the individual is confined in itself in terms of the distinction Benjamin draws between modern novels and stories. Next, it reconsiders experience in literature. Benjamin realises that experience as it appears in literature shows us the unknown or the strange--and hence otherness to ourselves. Consideration of Benjamin's reading of Proust helps us to realise an otherness not within but to ourselves. The paper goes on to consider "involuntary memory" in terms of what Benjamin calls our "muscular activity"--that is, our act. It is important to recognise that Benjamin thinks of experience in a "dual style"--that is, in terms of the tension between what is other to ourselves and our own act, as is exemplified in writing. Our writing should be understood in terms of receptiveness to a now-time that constellates the fragments of the irretrievable past. In conclusion it is argued that otherness can invade the self and destroy our common sense or ordinary being, in Benjamin's sense. In the light of this, it becomes possible to see experience not only as a reinforcement of our autonomous selves but as an opening onto the yet unknown, which enables us to touch the depths of our lives beyond usefulness.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A