The accelerated flâneur
Patrick Laviolette (LIAS Leicester / UCL)
The contemporary manifestation of the flâneur can perhaps best be understood in our times through the rubric of the crisis of immediacy and therefore as an 'accelerated flâneur'. Facilitated by postmodern architecture and globalisation anxieties as well as the modern ambition for heightened leisure and freedom from restraint, the physical imaginary now knows fewer bounds than ever. For attention to the actual social experience of modernity's fascination with acceleration, one must move away from traditional theorists to consider the sociological impressionism of someone like Georg Simmel. In the background of most of his writings, Simmel was drawn to thinking about the effects and affects which result from the increasing pace of modern life, with an overall focus on the global shift from rural to metropolitan existence. This paper considers acceleration as it relates to the increased speed of the experiential in the realm of voluntary risk taking and adventurous recreation.
Anthropological reflections on crisis and imagination: a field view