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Glimpse

Volume 11/12, 2009/2010

Jean-Yves Heurtebise
Pages 68-78

From Tarde to Superman
Ordinary Heroism and Superheroes - an American story

The aim of this paper is to redefine the notion of "heroism" through an investigation in the sociopolitics of popular Medias and especially the characters of Superheroes as they appear in comics of the late thirties and in the cinematographic industry since the nineties. This paper will pay a large tribute to the works of Gabriel Tarde (1890), Henri Bergson (1932) and Gilles Deleuze (1969) whose concepts will be an imderlying constant reference. My purpose is to redefine the (Bergsonian) notion of heroism through the notions of imitation and innovation, defined by Tarde as the fundamental principles of social life, and redefined by Deleuze as the collective expression of the primitive ontological forces of Repetition and Difference. Actually, the notion of imitation and innovation seem more appropriate to the study of popular culture phenomena than the statistic sociology of Durkheim. Based on that philosophical background, I will give an analysis of the political changes occurring in westem contemporary societies through an analysis of the representation of Superheroes.

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