Freudian Mass Psychology in the Age of Networks
The rise of the modern masses
One of the characteristics of modernity is the rise of the masses, related to a string of sundry factors. Waves of urbanization follow first the commercial capitalism and then the Industrial Revolution. What Lyotard (1979) dubs the “great narratives” of modernity constitute the axis around which the urban masses are assembled in “the age of revolution” (Hobsbawm, 1996) and beyond. Countering both revolutionary processes and ordinary unrest in the streets, disciplinary dispositifs to regulate and conduct the masses are developed (Foucault, 1993; Gorski, 2003). By the mid-19th century, as Benjamin comments, the energy of the masses strolling through the streets in the Paris of the Second Empire seems to spur consumption:
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