Les Flâneaux
: Flânerie and the Gaze of the (Post)human Other

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Abstract

This doctoral thesis looks at the art of flânerie in three new ways. The first hitherto unexplored contribution is a translation of the original anonymous 1806 pamphlet in which the first flâneur appears. This pamphlet was initially intended to be serialised and shows flânerie in a new light. The original flâneur, M. Bonhomme, was interested in both popular and high culture, and his musings were intended to be published to influence the readers of popular pamphlets in 19th-Century Paris. The second way in which this analysis and exposition of flânerie makes an original contribution to humanities is the discussion in the third, middle chapter on the philosophy of cyberflânerie. Although the gaze of the Other has been discussed in relation to corporeal flânerie, the extended gaze, transcendence, and extended web mind, there has been little deliberation in terms of cyberflânerie. Finally, the thesis brings flânerie into the 21st-Century with three practical applications of cyberflânerie, including examples of practical applications thereof such as vlogging and streaming and street art and social media showcasing the said artwork. Photos of street art pieces are displayed on social media, thus creating digital records of the artwork, and facilitating routes for potential cyberflâneaux to both gaze upon and critique the artwork without walking the streets of the metropolis.

Introducing non-binary terminology such as artist-flâneaux and audience-flâneaux was a natural progression for the concept of flânerie as the patriarchal gaze on the streets and the Internet is being challenged. Technology facilitates freedom, although not entirely, as this thesis will conclude. Freedom from the objectifying gaze for flâneuses is not ensured if the body is not removed from view and therefore denied. When women (trans or cis) venture into male-dominated arenas such as gamer streaming, objectification still occurs. It is within the world of street art where artists can choose not to gender identify, and the parallel digital representations of their artwork displayed on digital media show that anyone (as long as they have access to the Internet) can enjoy looking at the pictures. We are all cyberflâneaux now.
Date of Award2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAndrew Roberts (Supervisor) & Dominic Smith (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • cyberflânerie
  • postmodernism
  • posthumanism
  • flânerie

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