Central and East European
Society for Phenomenology

Conference | Paper

The Afterlife of Film Violence. A Genetic Phenomenological Approach

Christian Ferencz-Flatz

Thursday 2 December 2021

16:20 - 17:00

Zoom 1-3

Ever since the 1960s, media and communication studies have abounded in heated debates concerning the psychological effects of film violence. While Berger and Luckman already in the 1960s argued that our perception of reality is influenced not only by our real past experiences, but also by our fictional medial ones, this observation was later on vividly defended specifically with regard to film violence and its effect in cultivating either fear or aggressive tendencies among its viewership (see, for instance, the works of Freedman). Subsequent empirical research has found some evidence to substantiate this, but my presentation here does not aim to settle the question of fact: whether or not medial experiences indeed engender real emotional dispositions. Instead, it brings into play the resources of genetic phenomenology, in order to ask how the formation of such dispositions would be generally possible. To this extent, I will depart from several recent papers, which engage the question of fictional emotions from a phenomenological perspective (Cavallaro, Summa, Vendrell Ferran, Ferencz-Flatz). In contrast to these papers, which try to work out an essential difference between real and fictional emotions by determining whether or not fictional emotion can be voluntarily reproduced or whether or not they need to draw from our prior actual experience, the present paper aims to further the discussion by overtly employing the framework of Husserl’s later genetic phenomenology to the field of emotional experience. In doing so, it poses questions with regard to how fictional emotional experiences nonetheless contribute to the formation of apperceptions and to the specificities of emotional sedimentation.