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Literary Studies and Sociology in Dialogue - How Imaginaries Shape Social Reality

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Location: Jonsered Manor, Gothenburg University

How does social reality come into being? Where do social impulses originate and how do they enter the public sphere? Imaginaries are at least partly constitutive for what societies are, how they develop, how they are modified and continuously negotiated. Fictional stories, whether in the form of literary texts, visual media, or music and lyrics, can be catalysts for social transformation by reflecting the present from alternative viewpoints, including looking back at the past and imagining possible futures. Fictional stories turn imaginings into possibilities, taking them into the world, bringing them to mind and prototyping possible social realities through images and narration, figures and plots.

How do social imaginaries emerge? How does fiction contribute to social transformation – and how are social transformations reflected in social imaginaries? What is social energy and how is it set in motion?

Hartmut Rosa, Professor of Sociology and Social Theory at Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, and Director of the Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt, DE

Elisabeth Herrmann, Professor of German Studies at the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick, UK

Moderator: Irina Hron, Associate Professor in the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen, DK

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