Frank Voigt, Nicos Tzanakis Papadakis, Jan Loheit, Konstantin Baehrens (ed./eds.)

Material und Begriff
Arbeitsverfahren und theoretische Beziehungen Walter Benjamins
[Material and Concept. Working methods and theoretical relationships of Walter Benjamin]

Argument Sonderband Neue Folge AS 322
Argument Verlag, Hamburg 2019, 319 pages
ISBN 978-3-86754-322-4

The reception of Walter Benjamin's works is infused with a paradox: although there is a consensus that he develops his concepts in ‘close contact’ with the respective material, his writings are often read without an independent study of his sources, detached from the respective problem and debate context. This reinforces the impression of an esotericism in his texts and can lead to the assumption that Benjamin arbitrarily takes motifs from his study of materials and sources and uses them as a vehicle for thinking that is in itself difficult to classify in a tradition.

The authors of this volume place emphasis on Benjamin's material, be it literature, theatre, metaphysics, philosophy of law and morals, magazine projects, social movements or urban architecture. Using texts from different phases of their work, they examine the relationship between material and concept from both perspectives. This approach also makes it possible to shed light on theoretical relationships and work contexts that have so far been ignored.

The contributions of the volume originate on the Walter Benjamin Workshop for Younger Scholars “Material und Begriff. Arbeitsverfahren und theoretische Beziehungen Walter Benjamins” (see below) at the ZfL in March 2017.


Walter Benjamin Workshop for Younger Scholars
25 Mar 2017 – 26 Mar 2017

Material and Concept. Working Methods and Theoretical Relations of Walter Benjamin

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Seminarraum 303

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Media Response

23 Sep 2019
Aus Walter Benjamins Werkstatt

Review by Robert Pursche, in: Soziopolis. Gesellschaft beobachten, 23 Sep 2019