Fugitive Phrases: Arcade Fire, Music, and the Amorous Subject
Allison, Stacy Michelle
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This dissertation asserts that passionate love is not a feeling, but a process of acculturation to a complete system of information. Niklas Luhmanns work on love as a system of communication is put in dialogue with the psychoanalytic theories of Jacques Lacan and Slavoj iek to demonstrate that music plays a vital role in the construction of amorous subjectivity in Western culture. The music of Canadian rock band Arcade Fire, with its concern with ideas of emotion and authenticity, provides a vehicle for revealing the process of becoming an amorous subject, such as the courtly lover; the relationship between music, love and memory, forgetting and time; the uncanny musical revenant, and the complications of sexuality. Luhmanns theory of passionate love as a system of communication and psychoanalytic analysis as developed by Lacan and iek are used to demonstrate the ways popular music forms an amorous semantic communication network. This system of communication works to resolve and enable the paradox that is passionate love. In this dissertation I develop Luhmanns theory of passionate love as a communication system alongside the theories of Lacan and iek to develop a form a theory of affective mapping, which is used in an analysis of several Arcade Fire songs. The first section of the dissertation sets out the area of study, defining and discussing ideas of love, indie rock music, and the overall methodological approach. Chapter two takes up the areas of psychoanalysis, and systems theory, leading the development of a theoretical framework that is deployed later the study. Chapters three and four focus on indie rock music, music scenes and Montreal, and Arcade Fire. Chapters five, six, and seven are comprised of case studies, each focusing on a different song and theoretical concern.