Flat disc phonographs and the injunction of the second master

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    This article examines the mechanical phonograph from its invention as a business aid to its incorporation into the domestic space. While its insertion into the latter was certainly dependent on technical improvements, it was equally dependent upon soliciting the very fantasy space of the phonograph as an autonomous object capable of speaking on behalf of the individual. A central strategy to soliciting the domestic phonograph was to gradually remove its recording device, which simultaneously removed the consumer's ability to engage with it as an interactive device. I use this as grounds to argue that the phonograph initially evidenced a term developed by Žižek called primordial substitution. Eventually, however, the decision to remove the recording device was an unconscious necessity in order for the phonograph to contribute to fantasy coordinates of democracy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-265
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Historical Sociology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep. 2011


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