"Prison-paradise"?: das internat als entwick-lungsraum in deutschsprachigen romanen nach 1968
Stiepel, Anna Elizabeth
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The PhD thesis at hand is entitled “Prison-Paradise? The boarding school as space for individuation in German-language novels after 1968”. It is about the literary depiction of disciplinary institutions and their speci-fic influence on the body and the constitution of the subject. The analysis is cen-tred on two main pillars: first, it aims to connect the chosen twelve contemporary novels with their historical predecessors, for example Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening (1891) or Hermann Hesse’s Beneath the Wheel (1906), in terms of shared topoi, motifs and themes. Secondly, it uses Michel Foucault’s socio-theoretical remarks on discipline and closed institutions – like prisons, barracks, factories, hospitals or schools – published 1975 in Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison to discuss the spatial and hierarchical distribution of individu-als, the regiment of time and action, the controlling and guiding function of pasto-ral power represented by archetypical teacher characters and the normative social control of peer groups. Other important works by Foucault are The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge (1976) and his essay “Of Other Spaces” (1984) that complemented the pursued approach to illustrate development in the genre of school stories. Like their historical predecessors did, some of the modern school stories ex-ercise criticism on authoritarian upbringing via the depiction of school resp. boarding school as setting. This specific setting is in use in the represented sec-tarian schools as counterpart to anti-authoritarian education demanded by 1968’s student movement. In the represented non-sectarian and more liberal schools the disciplinary force is no longer with the institution, but taken over by the peer group who uses sanctioning mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion to control the subject and his/her body.