Hans J. Krysmanski     

Biographical Notes

Always historicize!

Born 1935 in Berlin and after WWII ending up with his family as refugees in a village near Frankfurt, he in 1953 was selected for a HICOG student exchange programme. Completing High School at Mancelona, Mich., and consequently enrolling at Sir George Williams College, Montreal, he continued his studies of sociology, history, psychology and philosophy at the Free University Berlin and in Graz, Vienna , Hamburg and Münster, receiving his Ph.D. in 1961, his thesis dealing with utopian thinking (‘Die utopische Methode’, 1963).

After work at the Sozialforschungsstelle Dortmund and as assistant of Prof. Helmut Schelsky, he was, during 1964, a visiting lecturer of sociology at the Universidad Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia. Back at the University of Münster, he in 1967 became Associate and in 1971 Full Professor and Director of the Institute of Sociology, publishing in the fields of developmental sociology, sociology of knowledge ('Soziales System und Wissenschaft’, 1968/72), sociology of conflict (Soziologie des Konflikts, 1971) and getting increasingly involved in radical politics.

The Seventies were spent contributing to a special West German brand of Marxist sociology (with P. Marwedel, ‘Die Krise in der Soziologie’, 1975) and engaging in ‘union-oriented’ social research. Since 1976, as a member of the presidium of the World Peace Council and of the World Federation of Scientific Workers, Krysmanski gained considerable experience at the hub of  Cold War ideological confrontations on the level of international non-governmental organizations. His book on the structural aspects of the West German socio-economic system (‘Gesellschaftsstruktur der Bundesrepublik’, 1982) was an attempt to formulate a sociological systems theory based on the categories of historical materialism. He frequently travelled to the USA and Canada, publishing various assessments of American affairs (i.e. ‘Abhängigkeitserklärung’, 1976) and regularly teaching courses on US-society. Some other publications during this time: Kooperation und Konflikt in den Beziehungen zwischen unterschiedlichen Gesellschaftssystemen, 1976; (with K.H. Tjaden) The Historic-materialist Theory of Social Development, 1981; (with Th. Neumann) Gruppenbild. Deutsche Eliten im 20. Jahrhundert, 1989. The desintegration of the socialist societies of which he had first hand knowledge prompted, during the Eighties, more basic theoretical work on the notions of class, mode of production etc. (in: ‘Europäische Enzyklopädie zu Philosophie und Wissenschaften’, 4 Vol., 1990), plus articles dealing with the peace issues of the day (collected in 'Soziologie und Frieden’, 1993) and with German unification ('Developmental Aspects of the German Unification Process’, published by the Korean Sociological Association in 1994). 

Russ. MIK

A new element did shape Krysmanski's intellectual pursuits since 1991: he became the author and director of numerous programs on national German television (Spiegel TV, NDR) dealing with aspects of the transitional change after the end of the Cold War. This work included documentaries on the Treuhand-caused demise of the East German airline ('Interflug', 1991), on the socio-economic conditions in East Berlin (‘Ostwind’, 1992), on the fall of the former Soviet military-industrial complex (‘Superpower in the Supermarket’, 1993), on American aspirations in Siberia (‘The ManWho Wants to Buy Siberia’, 1993), on economic relations between the two German states before 1989 (‘Länderspiel’, 1994), on the aftermath of the Moscow coup of October 1993 ('Alexander Ruzkoi’, 1994)and eventually programs in a different vein about General Aviation in America (‘Oshkosh - the Greatest Fly-In on Earth’, 1995) and on everyday use of the Internet (‘Münster Online’, 1995). 9 TV-science programs (Spiegel TV, WDR, TV Münster) have been produced with his participation between 1997 and 1999.

Friends and colleagues, on occasion of his 60th birthday, published a Festschrift 'Soziologische Ausflüge' (G.Ahrweiler, R.Rilling, R.Schellhase, eds., 1997, Westdeutscher Verlag). Since 2001 he is professor emeritus at the Institute of Sociology, University of Münster (cf. Krysmanski wird 65 ).

'Peace and Conflict Studies' (PeaCon) is a continuing research endeavor. 1997-2000 Krysmanski co-ordinated a comprehensive 'European Popular Science Information Project' (Spiegel TV, WDR, British Film Institute, German Research Network etc.), supported by the European Commission. In 2000 he organized an ad-hoc session of the Cologne-Congress of the German Sociological Association, 'Sociological Imagination and the Power Elite'. Krysmanski is involved in a program promoting 'Media Competence for Scientists'. As emeritus he conducts a series of seminars on 'Aspects of Globalization' and has done research and consultation on the power structures of the European Union: Wem gehört die EU?. A project German Power Structure Research is in the making.

In addition, his interests have shifted towards the development of movie projects and literary ventures around the figure of Karl Marx, cf. the screenplay 'Five Days in the Life of Karl Marx' (with Karl Philip Lohmann), 2005. Cf. The ongoing Karl Marx movies project .


His excursions into TV-journalism together with a longstanding interest in the theory and practice of mass culture inspired a number of publications: ‘Von den Subjekten einer ‘linken’ Medienpolitik’, 1995; ‘Wissenschaftsnetze und mediale Massenkultur', 1996; Krise der Demokratie, Produktionsöffentlichkeit und Netzpolitik, 1996; ‘Weltsystem, neue Medien und soziologische Imagination’, 1997; 'Karl Marx goes to Hollywood', 1998; 'Virtuelle Welt, Computer und Gesellschaft', 1999; 'Die Transformation der Massenmedien durch die Welt der vernetzten Computer - und was Wissenschaft damit zu tun hat', 1999; 'EPS - Final Report', 2000.

Other recent texts: 'Indifferenz und Desintegration. Grenzen einer Soziologie der Moderne', 1998; 'Der kleine, der große und der wölfische Frieden', 1999; 'Global Ethic Airlines. Hans Küng's Normative Globalism in a Changing World', 1999; 'Windows: Stationen einer Metapher', 1999; 'Windows in Painting', 1999; 'Eat the Rich. Die Rolle der Reichen in Amerika und die Rolle der reichen Amerikaner in der Welt', 1999; 'Raunen über Globalisierung in der Massenkultur', 1999; 'Cyber-Genossenschaften oder: die Assoziation freier Produzenten', 2000; 'Karl Marx: Das Kapital', 2000; 'C. Wright Mills: White Collar', 2000; 'C. Wright Mills: The Sociological Imagination', 2000; 'Machteliten und Globalisierung', 2000; 'Das amerikanische Jahrtausend?', 2001; 'High-Tech-Anti-Kapitalismus: ein Widerspruch in sich?', 2001; Popular Science. Medien, Wissenschaft und Macht in der Postmoderne (2001); 'Zur geopolitischen Bedeutung der Machteliten der USA' , 2002; 'Herrschende Klassen' , 2002; Wer führt die neuen Kriege? , 2003; Eine verschworene Gesellschaft? Geheimbünde und Paranoia in Amerika, 2003; Ein Blick ins Innere des Council on Foreign Relations, 2004; Power Structure Research, 2004; Privatisierung der Macht, 2004; Herrschende Klasse Revisited , 2004; Was ist eigentlich Elite?, 2004; Elite, 2005; Herrschaft, 2005; Re-education - damals und heute, 2005; ... und wer überwacht die Herrschenden?, 2005; Windows - Exploring the History of a Metaphor, 2005; Soziologische Ausflüge in die Massenkultur - eine Erinnerung an C. Wright Mills, 2005; Das Empire der Postmoderne und die 'Arbeiterbewegung' - eine Führung durch Hardt/Negris 'Empire', 2005; Screenplay 'Five Days in the Life of Karl Marx' (with Karl Philip Lohmann), 2005; Emanzipative Potenziale, Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der neuen Medien, 2006; Wem gehört die EU?, 2006; The power of money - the money of power, 2007; Are they really getting away with it? Post-hegemonic actors of the Northern Belt , 2007; Mehr Ego: Das neugegründete 'European Council on Foreign Relations', 2007; Der stille Klassenkampf von oben: Strukturen und Akteure des Reichtums, 2007; Unter dem Diktat der Nützlichkeit: Was heißt und zu welchem Ende studiert man Soziologie?, 2007; Who will own the EU - the Superrich or the People of Europe?, 2007; Von der Sichtbarkeit der Superreichen, 2007; Das 'European Council on Foreign Relations', 2007; Davos ist wie eine Bambi-Gala, 2008; Zumwinkel: Das sind doch kleine Fische, 2008; Unter dem Diktat der Nützlichkeit: Was heißt und zu welchem Ende studiert man Soziologie?, 2008; Die letzte Reise des Karl Marx, 2008; Wider die Fachidiotie der Machtidioten, 2009; Elites and the Monetary Power Complex, 2009; Eliten und der Geldmachtkomplex, 2009; Elites and power - Stretching the imagination?, 2009; *Hirten&Wölfe. Wie Geld- und Machteliten sich die Welt aneignen, second revised edition 2009 - cf. interview in 'Telepolis': Part 1, Part 2 (2009); Gesellschaftliche Planung und das System der vernetzten Computer, 2010; Das politische System der Vereinigten Staaten zwischen Plutokratie und Sozialdemokratie, 2010; Die Reise nach Richistan (Financial Crimes, 2010), PDF-Version; Geldmacht gegen Demokratie. Naomi Kleins Katastrophenkapitalismus und die Privatisierung der Macht (mit Petra Schneider), 2011; Wenn es die Bilderberger nicht sind, wer regiert dann eigentlich wirklich die Welt?, 2011; Die Aneignung Europas, 2011; Über die Befreiung aller Planungsdaten aus den kapitalistischen Computernetzen..., 2011; Fredric Jamesons Kapital (Rezension), 2011; 0,1 % - Das Imperium der Milliardäre, Oktober 2012 (2. Aufl. 2013); Geld ist Macht - so einfach ist das (Interview manager magazin) 2012; Die Geldelite verselbständigt sich (Interview Telepolis) 2012; Soziologie und 'Reichtumsforschung' - ein Internet-TV-Interview: Teil 1, Teil 2 (2013); Transkapitalistisches Gottesgnadentum (Lunapark21, 21/2013); Planetarische Herrschaft (junge Welt, 30. April/1. Mai 2013), PDF; Die neuen Superreichen (Rezension Chrystia Freeland, telepolis) 2013; Die letzte Reise des Karl Marx, August 2014; Wem gehört Deutschland? (Rezension Jens Berger, FR) 2014; Der ganz alltägliche Transhumanismus, 2014

Latest Books



Oktober 2012. 2.Aufl. 2015


Prof. em. Dr. H. J. Krysmanski, Institut für Soziologie, Scharnhorststr. 121, D-48151 Münster, Germany
phone: +49-(0)251-511742, e-mail: krysman@uni-muenster.de