Redemption Through Return

The experience of defeat and loss was the subject of earlier studies (the culture of defeat; military retreat; the industrial revolution as the destruction of traditional forms of space, time and life). It turned out that the experience of loss led to a romanticizing reinterpretation of the past. Restoration, reaction and conservatism transfigure the past into a golden age to be recovered.

Returning to the healthy original state of humanity is, however, the goal not only of all restorative, reactionary and conservative world views, but also at the core of progressive thought. The golden future advocated by such thinkers is nothing else than the golden age of the past transposed into the future.
The topic is of a certain topicality against the background of current populist romanticism—a reaction to globalization and digitalization, which are perceived as threats.

since 2020
Head researcher(s): Wolfgang Schivelbusch