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Hughes, Stephen (2019) 'Social Sense and Embodied Sensibility: Towards a historical phenomenology of film going.' In: Biltereyst, Daniel, Maltby, Richard and Meers, Philippe, (eds.), The Routledge Companion to New Cinema History. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 355-364.

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This chapter reflects upon how we might develop a more phenomenological approach for the historical study of social experience at the cinema. To do this, I will consider some recent scholarship and a few examples drawn from my own research on the history of cinema exhibition in south India during the early decades of the twentieth century to suggest several possible starting points for writing a historical phenomenology of filmgoing. On the most general level, I want to encourage more attention on the cinemagoing experience as a complex play between you, me, them, the film, the place of exhibition and the wider world beyond (Breakwell and Hammond, 1990). Certainly, historians of cinema need to be much more attentive to the sensory texture of the past and to ask phenomenological questions of our source materials that can help us relearn how to do history using our senses. However, for the purposes of this chapter, I will focus on one aspect of this sensory history of cinema that has all too often been overlooked, namely how embodied sensibility went together with the social sense of being part of an audience. Before moving on to specific examples I will first explain my focus on social sense and how this relates to phenomenology.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISBN: 9781315666051
Copyright Statement: © 2019 the contributor(s). This is an Accepted Manuscript of an chapter published by Taylor & Francis in 'The Routledge Companion to New Cinema History' on 05 February 2019, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2019 15:45

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