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The Skin of the SystemOn Germany's Socialist Modernity$
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Benjamin Robinson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804762472

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804762472.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 22 June 2021

Introduction: On Socialist Vacation

Introduction: On Socialist Vacation

(p.1) Introduction: On Socialist Vacation
The Skin of the System
Stanford University Press

This book explores an alternate form of modernity, one that is strangely different from the familiar modernity of liberal capitalism. It defines this strange system simply as capitalist modernity and argues that the socialist alternative is no political formation at all, but a system with a characteristic arrangement of subsystems. It views social reality as fundamentally agonistic—that is, one based in the inevitable fact of meaningful conflict. The book examines what made historical socialism in Eastern Europe different from social systems in the industrial West and considers the Cold War era as a period in which something universal took place with the advent of the socialist alternative. In analyzing socialist culture, the book looks at the insights into socialism of Franz Fühmann and discusses the relation of science to society and that of literature to economics. Moreover, it examines three institutional realms of camps, laws, and plans and how they correspond to three competing world orders in modernity: fascism, liberalism, and socialism.

Keywords:   liberal capitalism, socialism, Eastern Europe, Cold War, Franz Fühmann, fascism, modernity, science, liberalism, socialism

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