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Anthropology of CatholicismA Reader$
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Kristin Norget, Valentina Napolitano, and Maya Mayblin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520288423

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520288423.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 May 2020

The Media of Sensation

The Media of Sensation

(p.316) 24 The Media of Sensation
Anthropology of Catholicism

Niklaus Largier

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the significance of medieval practices of prayer both for the modern rediscovery of media and for the anthropology of sensation. It demonstrates how medieval theories of reading, prayer, and contemplation thematize ways in which specific media—words, images, and music—are to be used in order to produce sensual and affective cognition. In doing so, these theories develop a sophisticated understanding of media on one side, and a specific understanding of the human soul as a sphere of evocation of possible sensation and affect on the other side. In working through this complex intersection of media and soul-formation I focus on this very notion of possibility, its significance in the context of an ‘anthropology of Catholicism’, and its presence in catholic discourses from the Middle Ages up to the twentieth century. Through discussion of the source texts an understanding of the seemingly established anthropological distinction between “inner man” and “outer man,” “interiority” and “exteriority” is challenged and what remains is a radically different way of thinking about interiority.

Keywords:   Middle Ages, Christian self, Techniques-of-the-self, Discipline, Cloister, Christian soul, Sensation, Interiority, The body

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