Title

(Re)Constituting community through narrative argument: Eros and Philia in the big chill (Re)Constituting community through narrative argument: Eros and Philia in the big chill

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1993

Publication Title

Quarterly Journal of Speech

Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

This essay analyzes the way a specific narrative text—Lawrence Kasdan's 1983 feature film The Big Chill—confronts the relationship between communal norms and political possibilities. By inviting the audience to engage in a constant process of character and community identification and contrast, the film enacts a complex disjunctive narrative argument endorsing a specific form of communal affiliation (what Hannah Arendt refers to as philia) and rejecting its opposite (Arendt's sense of eros). In rejecting communities grounded in eros, the film also critiques what can be called “the politics of intimacy” and adumbrates an alternative “politics of friendship.” Additionally, the reading of the film illustrates the importance of narrative to communal constitution and political friendship.

ISSN

0033-5630