Fending Off Shame: The Habitus of Objectivity

Helmut Lethen

in Cool Conduct

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780520201095
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916418 | DOI:
Fending Off Shame: The Habitus of Objectivity

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This chapter examines the train station scene and the billiard ball analogy. It notes that since the observers' reaction at the train station is coherent and collective, it suggests that they experience in the moment of their reaction a high degree of shared awareness. It explains that the macabre aspect of the situation, with the exception of the boy waiting for his father, escapes the rude public. Yet, even given this capacity for nuance in the officer's consciousness, neither he nor his servant can function as anchors for the sort of cunning we know from Hegel' master-slave dialectic, which comes of the attribution of a psychological disposition to anonymous processes. It clarifies that when the social sciences look for guidance to psychological theories of individual behavior, they run into problems explaining behavior in exceptional circumstances. It states that the psychoanalytic explanations of sudden changes of persona is that the institution of the army, in the midst of industrial society, represents “cold culture”.

Keywords: train station; billiard ball; reaction; Hegel; master-slave dialectic; cold culture

Chapter.  7743 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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