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Literarische Imagination und soziologische Zeitdiagnose im wiedervereinigten Deutschland. Untersuchungen zur Funktion von 'Welthaltigkeit' im deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsroman am Beispiel von Ingo Schulze's "Simple Storys"

Schumacher, Uwe (2008) Literarische Imagination und soziologische Zeitdiagnose im wiedervereinigten Deutschland. Untersuchungen zur Funktion von 'Welthaltigkeit' im deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsroman am Beispiel von Ingo Schulze's "Simple Storys". Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation revitalizes the sociological approach to literature in the light of the 'cultural turn' in sociology represented by Pierre Bourdieu, Ulrich Beck, Gerhard Schulze and others - and demonstrates its potential for contemporary German-language literature. Advocating the decisive role of the social functions of cultural products, my investigation starts from the thesis that, with the electronic mass media acquiring a dominant role in the cultural sphere, a functional differentiation has taken place, forcing authors of artistic aspiration to focus on the media-specific strengths and benefits of literature as text while at the same urging them to adjust to the consumption patterns of mass entertainment - not least because literature as institution is increasingly permeated by the laws of a globalized market. The result is, as I argue, a neo-realism which appeals on the surface to readers looking for intense, authentic experiences of "reality" and shifts its more challenging artistic dimensions to a deeper level of symbolism, allusions and structural constellation.</br>My inquiry into the social functions of this new realistic paradigm is carried out by expos-ing the literary representation of the transforming East-German society after reunification, as rep-resented in Ingo Schulze's novel "Simple Storys", to a comparison with the sociological diagnosis of it. This comparison does not subjugate the novel to external, non-literary criteria; instead, it demonstrates the specific features of the literary "grip on reality" as opposed to the scientific one and relates them to the competition with the mass media.On the individual level, two main social functions of contemporary literature-as-art finally emerge: to work through the cultural knowledge of its readers and their modes of experience, to test their limits and to transcend them partially - and to do the same with the elements of identity bound up with this cultural knowledge, thus facilitating a partial self-transcendence which gives room for suppressed needs. On a more general level, these functions keep reader's cultural knowledge and personal identities flexible enough to adjust to an ever-changing social environment. At the same time, they provide the subjective basis for critical distance and creative innovation.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee Chairvon Dirke, Sabinevondirke@pitt.eduVONDIRKE
Committee MemberLyon, Johnjblyon@pitt.eduJBLYON
Committee MemberHalle, Randallrhalle@pitt.eduRHALLE
Committee MemberBrockmann,
Date: 16 June 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 18 April 2008
Approval Date: 16 June 2008
Submission Date: 24 April 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Germanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: contemporary German literature; Ingo Schulze; Simple Storys; Sociology of Literature
Other ID:, etd-04242008-154328
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:42
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


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