"No Longer at Ease: East German Home Comings in Urban Context"

Institute Colloquium Winter 2010/11

  • Date: Nov 17, 2010
  • Time: 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Jörg Dürrschmidt (University of Kassel/Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, Wien)
  • Jörg Dürrschmidt is Fellow at Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK) Wien.
  • Location: MPI-MMG, Hermann-Föge-Weg 11, Göttingen
  • Room: Library Hall
"No Longer at Ease: East German Home Comings in Urban Context"

For more details please contact esser(at)mmg.mpg.de.

The presentation aims to portray the ‘home-comer’ as a figure to recover the local as a crucial aspect of global belonging. Located somewhere between natives and transients, the home-comer seems to best embody the notion of ‘elective belonging’. The returnee is committed to attaching his biography to a certain locality while at the same time this biography carries connectivity to other places. While the returnee no longer believes that the world can be home, he simultaneously recognizes the limits of local attachment. Often he feels out of tune with local customs, sometimes out of place altogether. Unable to fully reconnect to what used to be a self-evident everyday life, the home-comer might become the focal point of new solidarities of marginality or develop forms of transcontextual individualism. Based on semi-structured interviews with East German returnees, believed to best embody the limits to ‘travelling light’, the presentation aims to reveal ‘recursiveness’, or the art of reconnecting, as the inner secret of what re-embedding on the ground actually entails. By contrasting case studies in different urban contexts, the presentation attempts to highlight the difference between metropolis and ordinary city in their potential to support recursiveness.

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