115. sociologický večer
"The Kracauer Project"
Ethnography of a German Town in the Aftermath of 1989
host: Barbara Thériault (Département de sociologie, Université de Montréal)
At the center of the present talk are two research interests: contemporary Germany and sociological writing. Within one concrete project—an ethnography of a mid-sized town in what was once the German Democratic Republic, written in the form of feuilletons—I bring them both together. What are feuilletons? Brief texts combining sociology, literature, and reportage, inspired in this particular case by the writings of the journalist, novelist, sociologist, and film theorist Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966). Portraying the daily life of the town’s inhabitants (be it through themes, artifacts, or places), the texts cast light on different aspects of the process of sociation 25 years after the fall of the wall. After introducing what could be called a Kracauerian perspective to sociology, I will present, in the feuilleton fashion, one aspect that particularly struck me: the strange presence of photos and the religious feel it conveys to the town and its people.
Barbara Thériault received her PhD from the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies in Erfurt and her Habilitation from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt(Oder). She is a full professor of sociology at the Université of Montréal where she teaches and does research on German sociology. The writings of Max Weber, Georg Simmel, and Siegfried Kracauer constitute a starting point to her research projects: while she does not claim to offer a thoroughly new reading of their sociology, she brings them to fruition for the purpose of empirical studies.