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What Are We Trying to Escape?

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What Happens Next?
What Are We Trying to Escape? | 90

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“What Happens Next?” returns with a new topic: escapism. From pseudo-nostalgia that transports us to imagined pasts, to the allure of live action role-play and video games, host Dr Susan Carland and her expert guests shed light on the power of escapism, the blurring of fiction and reality, and the fine line between healthy indulgence and potential addiction.

Escapism often involves seeking refuge in an alternative reality, be it through binge-watching TV shows, playing video games, or even live-action role-playing (LARPing).

But is it unhealthy to long for a place – or even a time – that you’ve never experienced? And what about the parasocial relationships we often create with fictional characters from our favourite media?

This week’s guest experts include Monash University Business School’s Associate Professor Davide Orazi, cultural critic Dr Clem Bastow, Monash’s School of Media, Film and Journalism lecturer Dr Whitney Monaghan and author Professor Michael W Clune.

Today’s episode raises questions about the balance between healthy escapism and excessive immersion, as well as the impact of escapism on individuals' ability to return to reality. Can the line become too blurred?

A full transcript of this episode is available on Monash Lens.

Learn more:

“What Happens Next?” will be back next week with part two of this series, ‘Can Escapism Be Good for Us?’.

If you’re enjoying the show, don’t forget to subscribe, or rate or review “What Happens Next?” to help listeners like yourself discover it.

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