Creativity, openness, style consciousness, entrepreneurial spirit, empathy and cosmopolitanism

The End of Illusions. Politics, Economics and Culture in the Late Modern
Forfatter: Andreas Reckwitz
Forlag: Suhrkamp Verlag (Tyskland)
THE MIDDLE CLASS / Current in these corona times is whether Reckwitz's analysis opens up a restructuring of the economy back to a "real economy" – from the cultural capitalism in which the goods promise consumers symbolic, narrative, aesthetic and ethical experiences.

German sociologist Andreas Reckwitz (b. 1970) has become an important political premise provider. In last year's book The End of Illusions. Politics, Economics and Culture in the Late Modern ("The end of the illusions. Politics, economics and culture of late modernity") is the term "singularity"» the key to understanding the cultural, economic and social development of the last 40 years.

The word has not yet been claimed in Norway. The newspapers have admittedly been talked about singularity in connection with the machines becoming independent and taking over control. Philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze and Alan Badiou also refer to other historical events as singular.

Adventure trips, branded clothing, vegetarian food or an apartment in the right neighborhood.

Reckwitz is not a philosopher and ignores a distinction between the peculiar and the individual. For him, singularity involves both. He is not concerned that capitalism eradicates the individual through the general equivalent of the commodity (the money), as Theodor W. Adorno and the Frankfurter school pointed out.

On the contrary, the situation is now reversed: the economic and cultural of the new middle class greens is singularity. And this does not only apply to self-realization through consumerism that confirms the peculiarities of middle-class academics: adventure travel, branded clothing, vegetarian food or an apartment in the right neighborhood.

The new middle class

Reckwitz focuses on it societal the production of singularity. The economy has become cognitive. Since the 1990s, investments and capital have increasingly been made up of "intangible assets", intangible capital such as patents, copyrights, human capital, networks and inventory.

The new the middle class appears with a life form borne by ideals such as creativity, openness, style consciousness, entrepreneurial spirit, empathy and cosmopolitanism. The middle class was homogeneous and based on equality for 30 years after World War II. But then came the explosion of education. At the same time, there was an overproduction crisis in the traditional industry. A new well-educated academic class took over management. The old middle class lost ground, and a new subclass, a prekariat, also arose. IN Germany the proportion of industrial workers was halved from 1960 to 2017, while tertiary industries now employ 75 per cent of the unemployed. Many will fall behind in relation to the globalized middle class self-realization project. Instead, they want local affiliation, belonging and equality. According to Reckwitz, the new political polarizations are largely due to the cultural dominance of the new middle class and the reactions to it.

The cognitive-cultural capitalismn caused the goods to change structure, they became identity markers. Unlike goods that meet a specific need, there is no limit to the desire for intellectual property. In cultural capitalism, not only are consumer values ​​consumed: the goods promise consumers symbolic, narrative, aesthetic and ethical experiences. The goods are no longer just things, they are additionally services that one buys, or events that can be perceived as a whole of things and services (like a theater performance) – and finally medial formats where events can be stored on material objects. In the post-industrial, late-modern economy, the latest types of goods have gained much greater economic importance.

PHOTO: Pixabay
PHOTO: Pixabay

Self-realization and recognition

This structural change in production and consumption does feelings means more, one identifies more with things and services that not only have a simple, functional value. Previously, it had to be classic bourgeoisthe subject sacrificed his own interests on the altar of duty, and the romantic who explored himself lived on the brink of society. However, the late modern subject will have both: both self-realization and social recognition.

Reckwitz has also provided a model for understanding here identity politicss flourishing: It becomes a special case of the general identity-cultural tendency of the economy. If Reckwitz is right, it will be justified to cast an ironic look at those who criticize identity politics of social media, but ikke has no problem posting identity-creating selfies or recommending movie stars, Netflix series, clothing and interiors. Of course, they do not want to ban anyone from liking anything else, but still promote cultural capitalism where emotional identification is at the forefront. Thus, hypersensitive "snowflakes" can be seen as an unacceptable exaggeration of the cultural capitalist ideology they self-portray.

A more expansive capitalism?

Currently in these corona-times is whether Reckwitz's analysis opens up a restructuring of the economy back to a "real economy". He strongly polices against the sociologist Saskia Sassen, who in the wake of the previous financial crisis wrote the article "Living the real economy" (Le Monde 21.02.09). Reckwitz rejects her on the grounds that "the" real economy ", understood as a solid, rational economy that avoids the game between prices, value attributions, emotions and perceptions, has always been a fiction". He emphasizes that cognitive-cultural capitalism is not a reversible departure from the "real" economy – industrial business – but is its successor, a more expansive, extreme capitalism.

When the crisis comes, you first and foremost need money for food and shelter
head. The functional aspects of the product are crucial.

In other contexts, however, Reckwitz refers to Abraham Maslows (1908–1970) hierarchy of needs. But then he focuses on "peak experiences", sort of self-realizationsrus that assumes that one is at the top of the needs pyramid, and that the four lowest needs in Maslov's original model (physiological needs, need for security, need for affection and love and need for recognition) are met.

When shortages arise as a result of economic crisis, the interest in luxury goods will necessarily decrease. The abstract "growth" rhetoric collapses: What which is produced and growing in the economy becomes crucial. When the crisis comes, first and foremost, money is needed for food and roofing. The functional aspect of the product is crucial. Fashion clothes and fancy lounge furniture become less relevant.

Until the crisis is over and we are back to business as usual. Or is it possible to shrink , re # n's symbolic and identity politics? In any case, parts of Reckwitz's book should be translated into Norwegian as soon as possible. Because of its political utility.

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