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Lambert Wiesing

Luxury

(German title: Luxus)
ca. 223 pages
Clothbound
2015
Lambert Wiesing
Foto: Lambert Wiesing
© Jürgen Bauer

Lambert Wiesing, born in 1963, is Professor of Philosophy, Image Theory and Phenomenology at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena. His areas of specialisation are phenomenology, cognitive and image theory, and aesthetics. From 2005 to 2008 Wiesing was president of the German Society for Aesthetics. In 2015, he was awarded the Aby Warburg Foundation Prize.

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What is luxury? How is it experienced?
The first monograph on the phenomenology of luxury

About

Luxury – even the word itself gives rise to a variety of mental images: of expensive gadgets, excess and waste, of wealth, comfort, conspicuous consumption and status symbols. And it seems to provoke polarised opinions, for luxury is usually the object of either sharp condemnation or vehement defence. But do the many critics and apologists of luxury really know whereof they speak? There is no »luxuriology« in place that could determine, systematically and before any valuation, what luxury is.

Lambert Wiesing’s latest book is a pioneering work of scholarship, for in it he answers this question using decidedly phenomenological means. He shows how luxury cannot be seen as a specific quality of things or actions, but rather emerges through private aesthetic experience: the experience of possessing something that perhaps fulfils a specific purpose but is not exhausted by it. When the fact of possessing something immoderate, excessive or irrationally elaborate is perceived by an autonomous subject as an idiosyncratic release from the all-consuming tyranny of purposive rationalism and efficiency – that is Luxury.

 

From the Book:

 

»Luxury is the Dadaism of possession.«