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Culture on DrugsNarco-cultural Studies of High Modernity$
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Dave Boothroyd

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719055980

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719055980.001.0001

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Benjamin's ‘curious dialectics of intoxication’

Benjamin's ‘curious dialectics of intoxication’

(p.100) 5 Benjamin's ‘curious dialectics of intoxication’
Culture on Drugs

Dave Boothroyd

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines Walter Benjamin's thoughts about intoxication. It explains the narco-analytic thrust of Benjamin's thinking with reference to several of his well-known texts, and argues that Benjamin's frequent, but often seemingly ambivalent, remarks about the critical value of intoxication to revolutionary thinking provide a key to understanding his method of dialectical images. The chapter argues that drugs and intoxication were in several ways central both to Baudelairean flânerie and surrealism, as well as to the original critical pathway of Benjamin's own distinctive materialist cultural critique.

Keywords:   Walter Benjamin, intoxication, dialectical images, drugs, Baudelairean flânerie, cultural critique, surrealism

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