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Title: 'Ach, was sind das Finst're Zeiten!' : Eckhard Henscheid's critique of modern culture
Author: Blüm, B.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis examines Eckhard Henscheid’s critique of modern culture. Henscheid’s criticism extends to many different aspects of contemporary cultural life, from the celebrity-centred world of music to the market-driven world of publishing, from the manipulative idiom of political persuasion to the mind-numbing banality of advertising, and from the narrow self-satisfied domain of academia to the mass entertainment that is modern football. Henscheid’s attack on the degeneracy of modern language relates to all of these spheres, but also represents a theme in its own right. This thesis shows that Henscheid diagnoses the corruption of culture everywhere and that in his view all these different corruptions overlap and interlock. What is striking about Henscheid’s critique is that he does not adhere to any clear-cut party-political or ideological viewpoint, although it is possible to identify Henscheid’s critical indebtedness to Theodor W. Adorno and the Frankfurt School and to Karl Kraus. Henscheid’s ‘Kulturkritik’ extends to every aspect of modern life: this is not the selective criticism of isolated faults (although he tends to illustrate certain failings through the example of specific individuals) but rather the passionate expression of an all-encompassing ‘Kulturpessimismus’. The thesis examines the motives behind this wide-ranging denunciation of modern culture and identifies Henscheid’s ideal models of culture, which are drawn mainly from the classical ‘Bildungskanon’. The thesis discovers conservative traits in some of Henscheid’s positions but also poses the question whether labelling Henscheid a conservative is adequate: does he offer a constructive and reasonable criticism based on the wish to conserve or revive certain traditional values or is he just a peddler of nostalgia whose cantankerous outbursts have no chance of positively influencing modern society? The thesis will argue that Henscheid’s criticism succeeds in making an important contribution to contemporary cultural debates and consequently deserves to be taken with the utmost seriousness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available