By Robert Heynen
In Degeneration and Revolution: Radical Cultural Politics and the physique in Weimar Germany Robert Heynen explores the influence of conceptions of degeneration, exemplified through eugenics and social hygiene, at the social, cultural, and political historical past of the left in Germany, 1914–33. Hygienic practices of physically rules have been quintessential to the extension of contemporary capitalist social kin, and profoundly formed Weimar culture.
Heynen’s leading edge interdisciplinary method attracts on Marxist and different severe traditions to check the politics of degeneration and socialist, communist, and anarchist responses. Drawing on key Weimar theorists and addressing creative and cultural events starting from Dada to worker-produced media, this e-book demanding situations us to reconsider traditional understandings of left tradition and politics, and of Weimar tradition extra typically.
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Extra info for Degeneration and Revolution: Radical Cultural Politics and the Body in Weimar Germany (Historical Materialism Book Series, Volume 93)
29. 65 Bavaj 2005, p. 490. introduction 25 constitutional state [Rechtstaat] and pluralistic democracy as their “primary ideological enemy”. 66 Certainly this last point is true in the sense that the late Weimar notion of ‘social fascism’ promoted by the KPD did collapse these crucial differences, thus vitiating resistance to the rise of the Nazis. But, Bavaj is going beyond a critique of a specific policy decision to an indictment of the revolutionary left as a whole, as a result ending by absolving the centre of most responsibility.
In part, the problem with Bavaj’s account stems from his almost exclusive focus on political discourses and his contention that similar language indicates similar politics. Certainly there are better analyses of the discursive frameworks of Weimar politics that are much more attuned to the profound differences between left and right. 71 Similarly, Thomas Mergel’s analysis of Weimar parliamentary discourses offers 69 The same notion was also essential to the ‘Sonderweg’ approach. 70 Schumann 2009, p.
While Adorno’s argument presents a challenge that cannot easily be discounted, I want to resist its pull, at least in part. In the utopian imaginings of the Weimar period, I will argue, we can find resources for a culture and politics that challenges a normative liberal democratic perspective in which capitalism disappears from view, but also offers alternatives to the increasingly rigid culture of the Stalinised KPD. Weimar theorists themselves, I will argue, provide us with tools for thinking through these issues.