Representing Time in Capitalist Realism in Contemporary German and English Literature
Capitalist realism presumes that there is no alternative to the now-permanent neoliberal global order. This research project proposes to demonstrate not only that this thinking belongs to a specific ideological formation, but also that it is evinced in works of literary realism. These forms of representation attempt to capture the global impact of a financial system whose performative »language« consists of producing and destroying values through predominantly abstract and ephemeral methods. At the same time, however, these abstract techniques of financialization frequently produce very concrete results. The methods are often extremely »creative« and »innovative« (two »magic words« of capitalist realism) but end up creating, for example, a dystopian state in which time is always at a premium and mass social impoverishment runs rampant.
This project has two objectives. 1) It analyzes the narrative representability of temporal processes that appear as either highly abstract or as practically immediate in their concreteness, depending on one’s point of view. Proceeding from these findings, 2) the project then questions if and how contemporary prose is able to conceive of and represent alternatives to the omnipresent reality of the neoliberal way of life.
Fig. above: The UBS trading floor in Stamford, Conn. Credit UBS, via Bloomberg News, Source: The New York Times
The Politics of Form: What Does Art Know about Society?
ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Trajekte-Tagungsraum 308
Crises of Capital and Aesthetic Form
San Diego (USA)
Utopias, Dystopias, and the Work of the Imagination
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, (USA), Sever 105