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Biopolitics, Fascism, Democracy: Some Reflections on Our Discourse About “Modernity”

  • Edward Ross Dickinson (a1)
Abstract

In recent years the outlines of a new master narrative of modern German history have begun to emerge in a wide range of publications. This narrative draws heavily on the theoretical and historical works of Michel Foucault and Detlev J. K. Peukert, and on the earlier work of the Frankfurt School, Max Weber, and the French theorists of postmodernism. In it, rationalization and science, and specifically the extended discursive field of “biopolitics” (the whole complex of disciplines and practices addressing issues of health, reproduction, and welfare) play a key role as the marker and most important content of modernization. Increasingly, this model has a function in German historiography similar to that long virtually monopolized by the “Sonderweg thesis”: it serves as a broad theoretical or interpretive framework that can guide the construction of meaning in “smaller” studies, which are legitimated by their function in confirming or countering this broader argument.

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Central European History
  • ISSN: 0008-9389
  • EISSN: 1569-1616
  • URL: /core/journals/central-european-history
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