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The emergence of the modern consciousness of crisis

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The reflection in the article revolves around the following thesis: as crisis phenomena of the past can be differentiated and compared, the possibility of such a comparison is linked to a specific consciousness. This consciousness can be referred to as the modern consciousness of crisis. The article will discuss the emergence of the modern consciousness of crisis, its historical conditions as well as its main characteristics. The focus will be on defining this relationship, while keeping a certain distance to historicization by default. Even though historicist comparative analyses seem reasonable, they have to be carried out with specific historical meaning criteria in mind. In all times people probably experienced collective fears and anxieties related to crisis. However, those fears and anxieties were, obviously, anchored in various conceptions of order, which had a spatial, temporal, transcendental or political origin. Therefore, the analysis of the modern consciousness of crisis will comprise the following dimensions: the categories of time and space (1), the replacement or reinforcement of religious, salvation-historical or cosmological worldviews (2) and the dimensions of the political ability to act (3).

 

1. Introduction

Ever since people began to think, crises have ruled the world. At nearly all times there have been attempts to avert imminent decline, near or distant disaster. Modern and contemporary history is also shaped by diverse crisis experiences and impositions. In 2007, climate change was considered a central topic in the public discourse – until it was replaced by the financial and economic crisis. This brought up old and new questions and doubts about current growth models. Although discussions and critical reflections about current crises may appear to a concerned observer as very topical and therefore urgent, historical references are not as unambiguous as one may think. Economic crises are, just as other forms of crisis, often discussed in their historical context. In this way, world economic crises gain their historical ‘meaning’ when compared to the crises of past times. Let us just think about the beginning of the Wall Street Crash on Black Tuesday in 1929, which triggered the Great Depression within a short period of time. The crisis had very serious consequences: it caused the seemingly deepest structural collapse in the history of Western industrial capitalism – an unprecedented failure, which affected especially Germany and, as we well know, led to a general depression and the rise of nationalist, chauvinist and social Darwinist ideas.

However, a historical comparison that we may try to draw and use to avert current social disasters will not be very effective here. Another question seems more interesting, i.e. we may compare and contrast crisis phenomena of the past, but the very possibility of such comparative analyses is connected with a specific consciousness. This consciousness can be referred to as the modern consciousness of crisis (das neuzeitliche / moderne Krisenbewusstsein) and is the focus of this article. Simply put, the text will discuss the emergence of the modern consciousness of crisis, its historical conditions and main characteristics. This consciousness of crisis should be understood as part of the modern man’s relationship to himself and to the world. In the paper, there will be an attempt to define this relationship, while at the same time keeping a certain distance to, frequently default, historicization. Admittedly, historicist comparative analyses are sensible but they have to be carried out with specific historical meaning criteria and realms of experience in mind. In all times people probably experienced collective fears and anxieties related to crisis. However, those fears and anxieties were, obviously, anchored in various conceptions of order, which had a spatial, temporal, transcendental or political origin. What ‘we’ understand as ‘the modern consciousness of crisis’, can be therefore divided into the following dimensions: the categories of time and space in the horizon of the modern age, the replacement or reinforcement of religious, salvation-historical or cosmological worldviews and, not least, the dimensions of the political ability to act.

 

2. Time and space in the modern age

From the point of view of contemporary history, one that includes crises, upheavals and violent events, the notion of modernity is disputable. On the surface, a social and political goal may be formulated. If we understand modernization as an ongoing process that is based on specific basic processes and aimed at economic growth, structural differentiation, value shift, mobilization, participation and the institutionalization of conflicts, such an approach will probably not be questioned. In this sense, the process of expanding autonomous fields of action as well as the differentiation of ‘value spheres’ such as law, religion, economy and politics take place on the ground of new institutions, which allow for political communitization. However, what one may describe as a typically modern pattern in a certain period of time in Western Europe does not have to be understood in the same way in other regions or societies. Modernization, seen as a normative project that promotes mass democratic and welfare-oriented developments and too quickly leads to rationalization, economic growth and secularization, is not subject to any unilinear development logic. On the contrary, it has to involve detours. The beginning of the modern age cannot be ‘enacted’, and there is no master plan in the logic of modernization. In societies experiencing the dynamics of modernization, the old meets the new, traditions mix with innovations, there is a blend, a ‘collaboration’, a ‘creeping mutation’ going on.1 Therefore, while entering the semantic field of modernization, one can also aim at something that is not based on the (Western) European history of rationalization. A ‘beginning’ or an ‘awakening’ can be seen as an attempt to bring the history and the present closer together, to accept the past, learn from it and use it to strengthen one’s identity.2 In the following, we will reflect on how such a concept of learning may be relevant to the particular case of the modern consciousness of crisis. Furthermore, we will discuss how the ambivalences and dissonances of the modern are reflected in society.3 Normatively speaking, bridges into the modern should be built, but at the same time, while thinking about visions of the future and expectations, one should not forget the unpredictability and contradictions of each modernization. The political events of the present show in all urgency how fragile developing societies are and how fast the course of history can be swept away because of people’s interests, wishes and hopes. Let me provide you with just one example: the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014. It was not clear whether it actually had the characteristics of a revolution. The euphoria over its supposed victory did not last long, as we know. It died out in the clouds of smoke from incendiary materials and burning cars, among the masked people with cobblestones and stun grenades that shaped Maidan Nezalezhnosti in the recent past. Hope, attached to once revolutionary moods, gave way to disillusionment. After the peaceful revolution, the policy of violence returned. This political reality means that hundreds of people were killed – as protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square, soldiers of the Ukrainian army in the war in the East or unknown combatants of ‘New Russia’.

This brief look at the perplexing presence of crisis highlights the importance of the reflections presented below. The pragmatic bridges into the modern, which could be a basis for an ‘awakening’, are very fragile. From a theoretical point of view, one could contribute with cautious remarks and reflections about the interpenetration of social change and persisting visions of order, the coexistence of democratic hopes for the future and emerging crises. Such remarks should also address the problems of historical and political identity. The goal of the reflections cannot be to formulate a convincing concept but only to point to problems and dissonances of the historical and political construction of meaning.

 

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As a modern observer will soon realize, the categories of time and space play a fundamental role in the context of historical perceptions of crisis. While discussing historical events, precise time and space indications should be provided. For the learning process in historical research, it is crucial and indispensable to situate the events in time and space, but we have to bear in mind that our current understanding of reality and everyday phenomena has been shaped by patterns characteristic of a given time and space.4 However, the seemingly self-evident approach to space and time has its own historical past, too. In the premodern age, most people had limited possibilities to acquire universal and comprehensive categories of space and time. The knowledge of the world’s horizon developed little by little. It is not until the 18th century that we can speak of an all-embracing spatiotemporal perspective in the modern European world. The invention of chronological and geographical instruments was an external factor. The internal aspects of the developments may have been more complex, as they included the relationship of our consciousness to things, as well as spatial and temporal relationships between events and the material world. Ascribing cultural meanings to spatial and temporal distances played a special role here. The modern construction of the world cannot be complete without defining empty times and empty spaces.5 What Lucian Hölscher points out here, applies first and foremost to the (im)possibilities of comprehending the perceptions of space and time in the early and high Middle Ages. The way medieval people thought and felt about space and time will always remain to some extent foreign. Time and space were not homogenous categories. They did not reach into infinity. They were concise and “in a way, they clung to things and processes that they measured.” All of that is so difficult to comprehend today because for the modern man, the human perception of the world with space and time as endless and independent quantities has become self-evident, especially in view of impending crisis scenarios and the idea of a manageable future. The process of dismissing premodern ideas of time and space brings autonomy. However, this results in other problems and uncertainties. These include, most importantly, the perception of time, which in a modern sense is no longer seen as the simple postponing of a predefined end of the world. The certainty that it is not the return of Christ that comes at the end of time but ‘only’ an empty futurity can be seen as the burden of modern times. Therefore, it is worth asking here what the typical modern conceptions of the future are and on what unspoken assumptions are they based. Some conceptions of the future are generally considered as determining factors in political decision-making processes. They range from ideas typical of particular social groups to scientific prognostic models and concrete political visions: a broad spectrum, which can only be mentioned here. These predictions rarely come true. However, this does not mean they have no historical relevance. On the contrary, their historiographic value manifests itself in the tensions between conceivable alternatives, expected or probable consequences and mere factuality. This has been exemplified in Marxist visions of the future, which predicted that a social model would come to an end. It can also be seen in various literary future scenarios and bizarre utopias, created in the late 19th century.6

However, the development of homogenous spatiotemporal dimensions, which was a decisive turning point, draws attention to the crucial relationship between the available knowledge of the future and the possible actions to be taken in it. The modern consciousness of crisis, which is the topic of the article at hand, is directly linked to the realization that the need for reliable social prognoses in society has dramatically increased since the 18th century. Slow developments in the earlier and premodern times gave way to today’s immense acceleration and dynamics. Technological, social and political breakthroughs have led in the modern age to an enormous need for action, a need that stimulates political programs. Its historical relevance results from the specific approach taken today to a supposedly manageable future. The typically modern concept of the future, which excludes fateful developments whenever possible, seems to be a “self-evident possession of every modern society.”7 However, its self-evident nature fades away when one takes a look at specific transcendental, religious and political premises that historical concepts of movement are based on. If we make an attempt at comparing a typically premodern with a typically modern consciousness of a particular future time period, we will see considerable differences in the understanding of the concept of ‘future’ in general. In a virtual conversation with an educated Central European from the 17th century, the idea of disregarding divine plans of salvation would be, for instance, just as strange as the thought of a humanly possible, manageable future. The political scope of action that opens up in the modern age points in this respect to a religious and, to some extent, cosmological dimension.

 

3. The religious-cosmological dimension

Crisis scenarios in all social domains of human life reflect historical periods, with different ways of coping and forms of consciousness. How did people in the premodern world deal with precarious living conditions, limited food and supplies, existential insecurity and threats? In this context we often refer to words such as process, development and progress. However, we can also find various religious and salvation-historical frameworks that cannot be reduced merely to those historical concepts of movement. Various examples from various temporal layers (Zeitschichten) convey diverse concepts of the future, which can hardly be reduced to the dualism of modernity and premodernity.

A case of the Frankish state ruled by Charlemagne can be cited as the first example.8 There, a defeat inflicted by Basks on Franks in the Pyrenees was taken advantage of by the Saxon troops, which attacked the other side of the country. The Saxons penetrated to the Rhine. They plundered, devastated and burned estates and settlements, moving southwards to the Moselle. The whole country had to deal with fragility and a threat to security, as we would call it today. The impending famine, depicted in the relevant annals from 778/79, seemed inevitable. Here one may ask the question whether in such a situation some kind of need for political action that would alleviate human misery had already been identified. As Patzold emphasizes, an interesting mixture of quasi-‘state’ and religious ways of coping did emerge.9 In March 779 bishops, abbots, counts and other influential men gathered in Héristal near Liège, invited by Charlemagne to discuss this precarious situation. As a result, two seminal texts were written, which are pivotal to our understanding of future horizons at that time. The first text was devoted to fundamental structural changes and the organization of the state, including the relations between metropolitans and suffragans and the prohibition of guilds. The second text referred more directly to the impending famine. Charlemagne’s advisers formulated immediate measures to be taken in the face of crisis.10

To what extent can that approach to action and to the future be seen as ‘rational’ from the modern perspective? The difference between long-term, sustainable structural measures and interventions aimed directly at providing protection and limiting people’s suffering is known in contemporary politics, too. However, the analogy supposed here is disputable. We should namely ask what measures were in fact taken in the early Middle Ages. These included ordaining the number of Masses to be celebrated and the number of psalms to be sung, ordering how long the high and mighty should fast and how much alms they should give. Dividing people into the powerful and stronger on one hand and ‘lesser’ ones on the other should not come as a surprise in a hierarchical and stratified society. The text mentions the clergy and counts, divided into a number of classes. “The counts do not have to pray. They must however provide money or pay in kind. The king’s vassals should also provide money, the exact sum depending on the number of their subordinates who have their own land. The laypeople should, just as the clergy, provide for four poor people, as long as they are able to do that, or for fewer people, depending on their capabilities.”11 Based on these words, we could say that official measures were taken in order to prevent people from suffering. Within the scope of possibilities, they were reasonable, e.g. the possibility of introducing an ‘alms regulation’. However, one thing should not be overlooked here: the structure of the text is actually different from what we would expect today. The text does not start with a description of deficiencies or material needs that indicate a humanitarian catastrophe. It aims neither at assessing demand-related regional differences nor at providing rational estimates of the extent to which people would need food supplies. Instead of discussing a real demand, the text focuses on some form of religious ethics of conviction (religiöse Gesinnungsethik): the attitude of the addressed people and the principles of religious honesty. This means that the regulations were not meant to organize a distribution of vital resources according to modern principles. They were not aimed at “the stomachs of starving people”12 but at ensuring the grace of the almighty God. It is the hope that God would ‘take care’ of the Franks’ fate and would create the conditions needed for good harvest and sufficient food that dominates in the text. These, if you like, ‘political measures’ were rather secondary and can hardly be compared with the criteria of modern state security. For a medievalist, this assessment will come as no surprise. The consciousness of crisis that finds expression here results from people’s particular approach to body and soul. The modern approach to safety and security is aimed primary at ensuring people’s physical integrity, while the premodern approach did not necessarily prioritize physical survival and well-being. On the contrary, it put spiritual well-being above anything else.

Let us have a look at another example of the semantic development of a premodern consciousness of crisis. In the early modern age in the 17th century, the perception of crisis was, as we well know, also imbued with religious and cosmological ways of coping. The question of people’s mental and emotional reaction to the syndromes of violence, starvation and sickness, which had a huge impact on their lives, has been addressed by researchers from many different perspectives.13 For a long time, the 17th century was regarded as an epoch of consolidated confessionality and religiousness, but in our context this conviction still leads to objections. It is here that history, especially in relation to the Thirty Years’ War, meets further symptoms of crisis, which in the end come to include also the seemingly strengthened religiousness of the era. If we think of the economic and cultural developments of the early modern period, we will see that the 16th century was first a time of cultural prosperity in Central Europe, which was then affected by various crises of the last third of the century. The ‘century of crisis’, as the 17th century is frequently referred to, actually started in the 16th century. We must bear in mind that the early modern world was – also before acute crises arose – a world of scarcity. In one decade as many as three harvest failures could happen. If a bad harvest came two years in a row, the rise in prices and food shortage became life-threatening. People knew that bitter reality; it was not anything unusual. Existential threats were, as we well know, presented in expressive semantic forms. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, described in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 6, were called Pestilence, War, Famine and Death. They were coming alone but often in an ominous alliance. The crisis phenomena of those times included spreading diseases and dramatic shortages, but also climatic peculiarities such as the noticeable and scientifically proven cooling in the Little Ice Age. The fundamental subsistence crisis that affected people over longer periods of time led to well-known religious and cultural patterns of interpretation. Climatic phenomena such as unusually long cooling periods, lack of rainfall, thunderstorms and hailstorms, drought or floods were seen as the signs of God, evidence of “the prevalent sins for which people were punished.”14 The economics of sin identified the sinfulness level of individuals or groups of individuals. The devil’s activity on Earth was also a popular concept, illustrated in numerous printed works, where gambling, drunkenness, blasphemy and sorcery were presented as various diabolic figures. It was also the time of flourishing literature on the intensified witch hunts, black magic and demonology. Simply speaking, the fundamental power that people faced and had to overcome was forced into just as fundamental religious patterns.

To put it simply, the modern consciousness of crisis is related to the supposed overcoming of premodern periods, which were full of fear. But to what extent can we actually speak of ‘overcoming’? Obviously, just a few keywords are enough to show that the fear existing in the premodern times is by no means gone. On the contrary, it is present nowadays, in the form of the fear of terror and violence, fear of the future or fear of the foreign and the different. Nevertheless, there have been approaches in the field of the history of mentalities, which took people’s changing attitudes as a starting point and assumed that there is a continuous enlightenment and rationalization process. According to these approaches, the premodern man lived in the land of anxiety, which he then overcame on the threshold of the modern age. Since the late 17th and the 18th century, the prevailing cultural and religious disquiet lessened. In view of the Enlightenment, gloomy fears apparently disappeared, becoming just figments of the imagination. The power of reason supposedly helped to overcome the despondency of the premodern age.15 However, two substantial aspects prevent from overvaluing this popular picture. Firstly, there is the truism that long-term progress in social culture occurs only at the cost of new grievances but also new semantic developments. The concept of ‘overcoming’ fear in the sense of the modern enlightenment is debatable, as it seems that the fear that is inherent to a given epoch is passed on to the next one. Therefore, we should not pose questions about the extent to which reason gains the upper hand in view of the Enlightenment but rather about possible ways of coping with practical experiences of powerlessness.

One last example completes our reflections. No matter how we interpret the development of the relationship between the consciousness of crisis and religious views, it is the process of the development of human freedom that has been fundamental to the modern concept of the future since the 19th century. Increasing control over the forces of nature creates a malleable, open future. In the early modern age, the concept of the future was still narrow and room for maneuver and the introduction of extensive changes in any spheres of social life was extremely limited. The demand for an open futurity, however, contributed to dynamic developments after the industrial and spiritual revolutions. The supply of food increased, economic exchange and the exchange of people intensified, knowledge about the forces of nature led to the emergence of alternative forms of human co-existence. The wishful thinking that could be found in the earlier utopist visions moved to the horizon of imaginable fulfillment, even though particular forms and symptoms of crisis were affecting large parts of industrialized society. However, it was the creation of a new horizon of expectations, which formed a decisive turning point in the relationship of people to the future. If we no longer interpret collective and individual history as the anticipation of the Last Judgment and, consequently, we do not simply equate the future with the arrival of the Savior, then the concept of the future loses its “numinous nature”.16 The process of opening distant, yet unexplored periods of time is still accompanied by fear and anxiety, the fear of the consequences of technical innovations, the fear of accidents and anonymization, not least the fear of the mass of people. However, a new consciousness of time and crisis comes into play here: the imperfection of human orders and structures is attributed not so much to the metaphysical reign of evil in the world but rather to socio-political decisions. Even though in the 19th century the negative consequences of the industrial revolution still overshadowed progress, the typically modern consciousness of the future and crisis was changing. Today, it brings the promise of the endless self-development of humanity but it also leaves some space for “the apocalyptical perspective of the fast and imminent self-destruction” of humanity.17

 

4. Political empowerment

Human history is a result of human decisions. As R. Koselleck notes, this is true in two different ways. History is namely shaped not only by those powerful people who influence the course of events but also by historians, determining history through their writing.18 Obviously, we should keep in mind that ‘history making’ is a modern term. It refers to a change in historiography, where a new self-conception of historians and historical methods replaced the approach that dominated in Western culture over centuries. In those historical times, it was possible to tell diverse (hi)stories (Geschichten in German) without creating one history (the singular form; Geschichte). This emergence of one, singular history, a history that could be created and shaped, was indicative of the modern experience, connected with a profound semantic change in historical terminology and concepts. History in itself replaced plural histories, which is known to be a result of the lasting theoretical reflection of the Enlightenment. History as a subject of man or even “a subject of itself ”.19 The importance of this change in historical self-perception probably cannot be overstated in the context of the development of a modern consciousness of crisis. The transition from a multitude of histories to one central concept helped to see the reality as a whole and to develop a stronger link between people and history. The modern action space, filled with past experiences, new areas and uncertain expectations, marked the abandonment of the extra-historical instance. In the meantime, events that used to be interpreted in the light of old history, with no reference to its collective singular concept, converged, influenced by the consciousness of history that occurs within one integrated space.

Here we face one of the biggest challenges: having discussed the emerging concept of history that can be created and shaped, we want to move on to the consolidation of the modern consciousness of crisis. An attempt will be made to roughly compare the modern and the pre-modern consciousness of crisis and, in spite of historical change, to identify the meaning criteria that determine the specific consciousness of crisis nowadays. When earlier crises or conflicts are being discussed today, the modern consciousness is taken as a basis. This modern consciousness has been determined by specific historical conditions. In the above-mentioned situation of threat in the Frankish Empire of the 8th century, a pre-modern consciousness of crisis prevailed, one that was based on the ideas characteristic of that time and place, on specific metaphysical concepts and the experience of the imminent danger of suffering and sorrow. Nowadays we would rather speak of endangered systems, humanitarian disasters, tense security situations etc., with no reference to the meaning criteria of space, time or transcendence. It is the modern idea of contingency that is difficult to handle. According to modern historical semantics, the culture surrounding modern people could also be different. Furthermore, the historicity of modern consciousness indicates a specific relationship to the world. Contingency, understood not as fortuitousness but as openness to action describes an area of specific uncertainty, where both action and coincidence happen.20 With the epochal threshold to the historical modern age, contingency became a kind of a historical transcendental, a legitimate signature for what we need for a convoluted concept of the modern. Contingency, a frequently used, yet vague term, comprises both the manageable and the unmanageable, decisions between exclusive possibilities as well as the awareness that each action is accompanied by specific modern risks.21 Taking this awareness into account, the modern consciousness of crisis is exposed to an irreducible tension. In possibilities show a discreet uncontrollability. The appearance of crisis exposes the action as unfounded.

Action, as compared to behavior, means a decision or a choice between diverse possibilities, for which legitimation is provided. The criteria of this concept of action go back to the field of human capacity to reason, but at the same time they provide information about specifically modern ‘contingency semantics’.22 Modern contingency semantics is in contrast to premodern experiences. It does not derive from a consciousness of traditions and possibilities, which clearly differentiated between the human area of influence and all that fell outside human authority and therefore helped to restrict the human power of action. The examples of the medieval order of creation or the antique worldview show that the premodern approach was less loaded in this respect. It differentiated between what can and what cannot be controlled or managed. Consequently, the premodern approach could separate the present sphere of practice from transcendence and contrast the finite practice with infinite divine horizons. Today one would presumably speak of helpful clarity, of some practical relief by means of philosophical orientation. For Aristotle, decisions concerned eternity. In the antique way of thinking, contingency referred to events, and not to event horizons, whereas action was in a sense located in a “finite horizon of possibilities.”23 It is presumably this assumption that dispersed in the light of growing awareness in the modern age, and has nevertheless left a discreet shortage. From the modern perspective, the idea that the concept of human action could be extended endlessly seems, namely, to be rather a burden. What was once included in an ontological concept of divine authority and therefore could not pose any problems as a subject of human action, belongs in modern times to the consciousness of human ability. This means far-reaching changes: one speaks of a project of the modern (Habermas), of universalist conditions of validity; in the area of science and technology one discovers even the possibility of extensive biological manipulation. It can be speculated how people in antiquity would position themselves in relation to this horizon of possibilities. It should be noted here that this process of expanding human possibilities for action is accompanied by a contradictory political selfrelation. When the horizon of possibilities cannot be limited anymore, it is no longer a question of the mere consciousness of improvement but rather one of far-reaching changes in open and malleable futures. The modern consciousness of contingency raises orientation problems but it cannot be satisfied with the shrugging realization of eventful fortuitousness. This can the moment of crisis, areas for action that are believed to be areas of open be seen particularly on the example of the experience of crisis, in which case the genuine areas of capabilities and action overlap with the aspects of fortuitousness. People suspected that a collapse was inevitable. They may have recognized structural flaws in economic and social systems but they missed the right moment to introduce changes. The modern observer is familiar with such discursive and media patterns. The quality of the consciousness of contingency is shaped by the consciousness of a contingent reality. Political organization tasks can be, accordingly, easily formulated but still, there is the question what the historical reflection could contribute here. As in many other contexts, once again we can see here a modern experience of hiatus. The process of liberating collective and individual actions from premodern limitations, which took place in the early modern age, was initially regarded as open. With the increasing gap between experiences and expectations, historical thinking was fracturing. Besides the boundless realization of possibilities, there is a discrepancy between reality and possibility, which seems to have become self-evident in the modern political approach. Maybe a completely different ‘reason’ could be gathered from this new consciousness of contingency: a reason, which in view of discontinuities and breaches in history develops an alternative consciousness of fulfillment, certainly not in the sense of a conceivable comeback to a premodern consciousness of ability, but more simply – as a productive doubt about the criterion of unlimited feasibility. In other words, the empathic side of the modern consciousness of crisis and contingency is yet to be discovered.

Text translated into English: Joanna Maria Spychała

 


Christian Wevelsiep. Studied educational theory, philosophy and politics science. He completed his PhD in special educational theory in Dortmund as well as political sociology in Flensburg, Germany. He is at present working as a teacher in Bochum and as an external “Privatdozent” at the University of Flensburg. His main areas of research are: Theory of society, anthropology and ethics, history of modern violence. At the moment he is working on a monograph about the history of war from a basic-anthropological view.

 


ENDNOTES

1 Hans Ulrich Wehler, Modernisierungstheorie und Geschichte (Göttingen, 1975), pp. 16ff.; Lutz Raphael, “Ordnungsmuster der Hochmoderne? Die Theorie der Moderne und die Geschichte der europäischen Gesellschaften im 20. Jahrhundert,” in Ute Schneider and Lutz Raphael (eds), Dimensionen der Moderne. Festschrift für Christoph Dipper (Frankfurt a. M. /New York, 2008), pp. 73–91, esp. pp. 78ff.

2 Jürgen Kocka, “Historische Sozialwissenschaft heute,” in Manfred Hettling and Paul Nolte (eds.): Perspektiven der Gesellschaftsgeschichte (Munich, 2002), pp. 5–24, especially pp. 6ff.

3 Here: Annette Mülberger and Thomas Sturm (eds), Psychology, a Science in Crisis? A Century of Reflections and Debates (= Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 43). 2012, pp. 425–52; Margaret Gredler, Designing and Evaluating Games and Simulations. A Process Approach (1992); Steven Fink, Crisis Management. Planning for the Inevitable (1986).

4 Lucian Hölscher, Semantik der Leere. Grenzfragen der Geschichtswissenschaft (Munich: Wallstein, 2009).

5 Ibid., p. 14.

6 Blom 2009.

7 Lucian Hölscher, Weltgericht oder Revolution. Protestantische und sozialistische Zukunftsvorstellungen im deutschen Kaiserreich (Stuttgart, 1989), p. 15.

8 Hereinafter Steffen Patzold, “Human Security, fragile Staatlichkeit und Governance im Frühmittelalter. Zur Fragwürdigkeit der Unterscheidung von Moderne und Vormoderne,” in Cornel Zwierlein (ed.), Geschichte und Gesellschaft, Heft 3, (38), 2012, pp. 406–423.

9 Ibid. pp. 408ff. Obviously, the concept of ‘state’ invokes an extremely wide-ranging discussion about state-like structures in the premodern age, a discussion that we are not able to continue here. Cf. Wolfgang Reinhard, Geschichte der Staatsgewalt (Munich, 1999).

10 Patzold 2012, p. 408.

11 Ibid. p. 418.

12Ibid. p. 419.

13 Johannes Burkhardt, Der dreißigjährige Krieg (Frankfurt a. M., 1991); Hans Medick, “Der dreißigjährige Krieg als Erfahrung und Memoria. Zeitgenössische Wahrnehmungen eines Ereigniszusammenhangs,” in: Peter Claud Hartmann and Florian Schuller (eds), Der dreißigjährige Krieg. Facetten einer folgenreichen Epoche (Regensburg, 2010), pp. 158–173; Hans Medick and Benigna Krusenstjern, (eds), Zwischen Alltag und Katastrophe: der dreißigjährige Krieg aus der Nähe (Göttingen, 1999).

14Johannes Arndt, Der Dreißigjährige Krieg 1618–1648 (Stuttgart, 2009), p. 199.

15 Jean Delumeau, Angst im Abendland – Die Geschichte kollektiver Ängste im Europa des 14. bis 18 Jahrhunderts (Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg, 1989).

16 Hölscher 1989, p. 23.

17 Ibid. p. 25.

18 Koselleck 1985, pp. 260ff.

19 Ibid. p. 263.

20 Michael Makropoulos, “Historische Semantik und Positivität der Kontingenz. Modernitätstheoretische Motive bei R. Koselleck,” in Hans Joas and Peter Vogt (eds), Begriffene Geschichte. Beiträge zum Werk R. Kosellecks (Frankfurt a. M., 2011), pp. 481–514.

21 Niklas Luhmann, Soziale Systeme. Grundriss einer allgemeinen Theorie (Frankfurt a. M., 1984), p. 152; Ulrich Beck, Was ist Globalisierung? Irrtümer des Globalismus – Antworten auf die Globalisierung (Frankfurt a. M., 1997); Id. (ed.), Perspektiven der Weltgesellschaft (Frankfurt a. M., 1998).

22 Makropoulos 2011, p. 485.

23 Ibid. p. 486.

 

List of References

Arndt, Johannes (2009) Der Dreißigjährige Krieg 1618–1648 (Stuttgart).

Beck, Ulrich (1997) Was ist Globalisierung? Irrtümer des Globalismus – Antworten auf die Globalisierung (Frankfurt a. M.).

Burkhardt, Johannes (1991) Der dreißigjährige Krieg (Frankfurt a. M.).

Blom, Philipp (2009) Der taumelnde Kontinent. Europa 1900–1914(Munich).

Delumeau, Jean (1989) Angst im Abendland – Die Geschichte kollektiver Ängste im Europa des 14. bis 18. Jahrhunderts (Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg).

Fink, Steven (1986) Crisis Management. Planning for the Inevitable.

Gredler, Margaret (1992) Designing and Evaluating Games and Simulations. A Process Approach.

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