The Business of Inspiration: A Magical Technology of Prefiguration

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  • Kasper Tang Vangkilde
This chapter explores processes of inspiration as a magical technology of prefiguration by which creative agents in cultural production deal with the uncertainty of the future. Based on fieldwork among fashion designers, the argument is that processes of inspiration constitute an arational form of reasoning which, as magic, works toward desirable ends in ways that go beyond dominant rationalist conceptions. More specifically, it is argued that fashion designers’ search for inspiration is anchored in an animistic ontology, which forms the basis for a shamanic practice by which they become possessed—or in-spired—by the zeitgeist or ‘spirit of the time’. This entails that they acquire a distinctive sense of the time, which turns them into prophetic agents able to prefigure and act on the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMagical Capitalism : Enchantment, Spells, and Occult Practices in Contemporary Economies
EditorsBrian Moeran, Timothy de Waal Malefyt
Number of pages23
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication year2018
ISBN (print)978-3-319-74396-7
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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