Provincial Non-Places in Moritz von Uslar’s Pop Reportage Novel Deutschboden

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In this article, Marc Augé’s concept of the non-place is seen against the background of the urban vs. provincial divide by example of Moritz von Uslar’s pop reportage novel "Deutschboden. Eine teilnehmende Beobachtung" (“German Soil. A Participatory Observation”) (2010). In this novel, the narrator's reports from a provincial town in the East-German region of Brandenburg are directed to an imagined cultural center, represented by his Berlin friends, for whom he, so to speak, translates provincial culture. In the analysis, it is shown that a dichotomy between the urban space with its accumulated objective culture and numerous non-places, on the one hand, and provincial spaces with a stronger individual culture with more anthropological places, on the other hand, as suggested by Augé, can’t be sustained. Inhabitants of provincial spaces develop their own specific use of places and non-places. Also, the use of urban and provincial spaces is characterized by a constant mutual transfer of meaning, ascriptions and revaluations shaping the relation between these two types of spaces. As the analysis of Uslar’s text shows, the yearning for the authentic, individual and the historical is developed in the urban context and projected on the provincial space. In the provincial space, for its part, classical transitory non-places are preferred and non-placeness is even simulated, because they represent the alignment with modernity and progress.
TitelNon-Place : Representing Placelessness in Literature, Media and Culture
RedaktørerMirjam Gebauer, Helle Thorsøe Nielsen, Jan T. Schlosser, Bent Sørensen
Antal sider18
ForlagAalborg Universitetsforlag
ISBN (Trykt)978-87-7112-217-6
StatusUdgivet - 2015
NavnInterdisciplinære kulturstudier