Homeless at home: a cultural analysis of the new German cinema.

Scharf, I., 2005. Homeless at home: a cultural analysis of the new German cinema. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

10183443.pdf - Published version

Download (37MB) | Preview


My thesis is concerned with national identity constructions in West German film 1961-1989. This research primarily works within the framework of a cultural studies (rather than a film studies) approach in which film has to be situated within a wider social context in order to be addressed, rather than articulated simply as a work of art which needs to be analysed for its own sake. Moreover, the national and the cinematic realm are conceptualised as imaginary spaces which overlap and constructively interpenetrate one another through complex narrative processes. To analyse films more specifically in relation to their national context, I have translated the abstract notion of national identity into a set of concrete parameters, these being spatial, temporal and social relations and identifications, which are then observable in films. It is thus claimed that, in a way that is similar to a film being essentially comprised of a setting, a timeframe and the interaction of its protagonists, a nation, too, consists of a homeland, a history/traditions and a people.

An analysis of films of the New German Cinema is considered particularly useful for exploring West German national identity constructions because its filmmakers pursued cinematic renewal in the service of social changes and thus their work is linked to other national reform efforts of the '1968' moment. At the same time, this critical praxis of filmmaking, which, regarding its counter-hegemonic orientation, is conceptualised as Gegenöffentlichkeit, was funded, promoted and internationally recognized as 'German culture'. This complex relationship between West Germany and 'its' national cinema which led to the production of highly charged narratives, is addressed through a large-scale and many-sided analysis of the New German Cinema's social embedded-ness, its films' treatment of the topic of national identity, as well as of relevant production and reception issues.

As the main part of this analysis, I investigate which West German national identity constructions became discursively available to a national and international audience. I argue that in terms of identity this period can be understood as one of national estrangement towards the notion of what it was/is to be German. This experience of German identity as one of alienation is then placed within the context of an inward displacement from one's own history and culture, within the borders of one's own country. Heimat, in German, the quintessential term to describe one's geographical, social and psychological place of 'belonging', can be regarded as having lost this tripartite unity of collective reference, creating a situation in which individuals feel (or consciously decide to become) 'homeless' at home.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Scharf, I.
Date: 2005
ISBN: 9781369316445
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 25 Sep 2020 14:50
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2023 12:50
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/40955

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year