Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 15, 2014

Der Kaufmann ohne Eigenschaften: Wie Daniel Defoes Complete Tradesman im System der Kommunikationen verschwindet

Christian Huck

Abstract

This article is based on the observation of a discrepancy: The tradesman, arguably one of the most important figures of eighteenth-century society, is astonishingly absent in most portraits of this century. It will be argued that such omission is more than welcome to the individuals in question. The public task of the tradesman is to a,ct as the medium of trade, and in order to perform such function he has to be as unobtrusive as possible, as if producer and consumer were dealing with each other directly. Obviously, no tradesman is without an agenda of his own, but to fulfil the position society expects from him, he has to present himself just as if he were not there. To function as a medium, the tradesman himself has to be, and, most importantly, look medium, that is: middling, average, normal, and inconspicuous. The tradesman then becomes the model of a modern individual: the man without qualities. Women, on the other hand, are denied such a place in modern, functionally differentiated society

Online erschienen: 2014-4-15
Erschienen im Druck: 2006-7-1

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