Title page for ETD etd-12082011-163531

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author McDowall, Estelle
Email estellemcdowall@gmail.com
URN etd-12082011-163531
Document Title The flâneur in contemporary society with special reference to the work of Francis Al˙s
Degree Master of Arts
Department Visual art
Advisor Name Title
Prof E Dreyer Supervisor
  • surveillant assemblage
  • teleology
  • consumer society
  • city
  • cyberspace
  • duplication
  • experience
  • flâneuse
  • flânerie
  • flâneur
  • alienation
  • desire
  • dérive
  • nostalgia
  • outsider
  • Sisyphean
  • surveillance
  • Sisyphus
  • gender
  • gaze
  • fragmentation
  • metropolis
  • ludic behaviour
  • virtualisation
Date 2011-09-08
Availability unrestricted
The contemporary flâneur is confronted with a radically different world in comparison to the Parisian arcades of the nineteenth century during which the idea of the flâneur was conceptualised. The current urban milieu of the flâneur is dominated by consumerism, computer systems and surveillance, and the research posed here explores the flâneur within this environment. The flâneur was originally visualised on the streets and arcades of the city; however, cities do not only exist as buildings and streets and have become global entities that are constituted from the physical and the virtual. Throughout this study reference is primarily made to the work of Francis Al˙s to elucidate theoretical concepts.

This study proposes that there is an absence of the teleological goal in the journey of the flâneur and as such, the flâneur wanders the streets without aim; however, in the process creates narratives and leaves traces of his journey. The ubiquity of surveillance in the contemporary metropolis complicates the flâneur's relationship with the latter. Consequently the impact of surveillance on the flâneur and the flâneur's daily wanderings are examined to ascertain its influence on the flâneur in a hyperreal society.

In contemporary thinking, the traditional idea of the male flâneur requires reassessment and this research investigates the possibility of the female flâneur and women's presence in the public spaces of the city and the virtual realm of cyberspace. Furthermore, women are intricately linked to consumerism and their experience and position in the city are influenced by being seen as objects of the gaze.

© 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

McDowall, E 2011, The flâneur in contemporary society with special reference to the work of Francis Al˙s, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-12082011-163531/ >


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