Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
James Fairhead
2015 Unknown
The Return of the Magi: Image Magic and the Institutionalisation of Kitsch Therapeutic Fantasy’, in Linstead & Letiche [eds] [forthcoming]
The Magic of Organization
Edward Elgar
In Press
Optional Fields
What does the C16th humanist Sebastian Franckh have in common with the massively popular C19th conman PT Barnum? they both recognized that the power of magic stems from the fact that mankind ‘loves to be deceived’ ('mundus vult decipi'). This paper formalizes, thickens and adds to the strands of the genealogical approach adopted in my 2010 working paper. Notably it highlights much more richly other factors in the ongoing deception of many a thoroughly modern corporation: the intensification of unsettling liminal conditions in America during the 1890s, the enabling effect of WW1, the role-modelling of an efficient 'selling' orientation by magician-operators during the 1920s, and their promulgation and further 'kitschification' of therapeutic fantasy via radically new media. All these factors can be seen as contributing to the further rationalisation of secularised rejections of the world in favour of a fantasy version of corporate and customer reality that still, surprisingly, appears to hold sway. The 'high magic’ quality of the spells of the image-magicians is reflected in the way they seek to exercise much more than just localised power, in order to create a completely fake version of reality. With AT&T corporation blazing a trail as early as WW1, corporate myth-making eventually proves to be highly convincing for the great mass of the population, based as it is on the age-old willingness of the magician's victim to collude with the magical fantasy.
Linstead S & Letiche H
Grant Details