In: KulturPoetik 2014, Heft 2


Weertje Willms


Entindividualisierung und Ich-Fixierung. Zur Auseinandersetzung mit der Leistungsgesellschaft in der aktuellen Literatur




»Leistung« (achievement) and »Leistungsgesellschaft« (achievement-oriented society) have, in recent years, become much-discussed topics in public and media discourse, in academic research and in literature, meeting with great deal of critical appraisal from researchers and authors. On the basis of an analysis and interpretation of the story Nach oben ist das Leben offen (›Life Opens Upwards‹) by Philipp Schönthaler and a cursory look at additional literary texts, this study will, on the one hand, identify the parallels between academic and literary discourse. On the other hand, it will demonstrate that literature performs a specification: for here, what is diagnosed as the actual problem of our present society, is a precarious relationship of the subject with him/herself and his/her fellow human beings; the identity of human beings, which is a part or consequence of contemporary achievement-oriented society and its functioning mechanisms, can be rendered by the terms de-individualisation and ego-fixation. Identity and relationship disorders are conveyed through conspicuous forms of aesthetic defamiliarization/alienation, displayed at various levels, e.g. those of space, time, narrative structure or reported speech.