"A comparison of the social roles of authors in the interwar years on the basis of writer’s associations in the Netherlands, Flanders and Germany from ethnological perspective"

Louis Dumont’s model constructs modern ideology as an individualistic special case of the traditional holistic ideology and consequently regards it as part of a bigger whole. The relation between individual and society is of special interest in this context: in modern individualistic societies it is characterised by the predominant values of freedom and equality of the individual. According to Dumont, Authors occupy a special position in society; they are not equal among equals. This special role is the subject matter of the dissertation project.

The starting point of this research are writer’s associations: Based on research of discussions within these associations, the most important role conceptions of authors will be detected. The interwar years are of special interest in this regard, because of the controversial discussions about the societal and political commitment of authors taking place at that time. The different role conceptions will be further explored by analyzing texts of authors that are representative for the various notions. In doing so it should be determined, among other things, which relations of author and society are expressed, which societal functions the role of the author achieves and to which domains the role mainly corresponds. In the next phase, the attained diverse role conceptions will be compared with one another and then be embedded into the national context. This will lead to insights into the societal conditionality of roles of authors, such as the question about the impact of different societal traditions on the self-perception and the resulting societal commitment of authors.

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