This paper argues that Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility” provides a rich analytic framework for understanding how the many dimensions of aesthetic experience interact both with each other and with social and political life more broadly. The heart of that framework is a structural theory of the relation of six core aesthetic concepts. With Benjamin’s systematic analysis in hand, the paper advances an argument about the manifestation of those core aspects and their interrelation in our own historical moment. The aim of the paper is thus to extract a rich and comprehensive theory of the work of art from Benjamin’s essay and to indicate the power of this theory through its continuing ability to illuminate the dense imbrication of aesthetics and politics.
- Walter Benjamin
- Work of Art