Happy to join Nidesh Lawtoo’s Mimetic Turn upcoming conference. Especially looking forward to hearing from the distinguished keynotes. On my turn, I’ll be contributing some reflections about
Imitation, metamorphosis, becoming: A comparative social-theoretical sketch
Abstract. In my talk, I would like to address the relation between three notions that share significant similarities, but also exhibit crucial differences: these are Gabriel Tarde’s imitation, Elias Canetti’s transformation (Verwandlung), and Gilles Deleuze’s becoming (devenir). Tarde, whose work spanned the 1890s, is famously associated with the idea that social life is essentially imitative in nature, and although imitation does not truly exhaust his whole conception, it is amply elaborated and variously illustrated throughout his work. Both Canetti, writing in the 1950s, and Deleuze, through the 1960s and 1970s, seem to have subsequently deployed mimetic-like notions in their respective research; at the same time, both have been careful to remark how their conceptions remained distinct from the notion of imitative behaviour. My aim here is thus to compare and analyse these three notions, so as to untangle a little bit their complex, dense relations.