In and Out, Then and Now: The Conscious Self and its Relation to Society in Pre-modern and Modern Times

Arlinghaus F-J (2015)
Medieval History Journal 18(2): 378-403.

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Journal Article | Published | English
Abstract
This article explores how the relationship of a single person and society is depicted in the twelfth century and the fifteenth/sixteenth centuries in French and German autobiographical writings. Shifting away from looking at the group-single person' relationship, which is so prominent in the debate on medieval individuality, and turning to society', the article suggests that this wider scope can offer new ways of identifying parallels and differences between modern and pre-modern concepts of the self. Drawing on sociological theory (Simmel, Luhmann) on conceptualising the self, the article argues that, with respect to self-esteem, self-consciousness and (if at all) autonomy' there are more similarities than differences between medieval and modern ways of being individual'. Besides the similarities, the fundamental differences can be found in the overall perspectives and the general frameworks against which concepts of the self are developed. On the one hand, people conceptualise themselves as being part of, or rather, exponents of society. On the other hand, they describe themselves as being counterparts of, or rather, external to society. Whether this approach helps to yield a different view of how pre-modern autobiographical texts can be read, with side glances to the merchant Lucas Rem and the professor Johan vam Hirtze (both fifteenth century), the study concentrates on Guibert of Nogent, a twelfth-century abbot, and Katharina Schutz-Zell, a sixteenth-century widow of a Protestant priest.
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Arlinghaus F-J. In and Out, Then and Now: The Conscious Self and its Relation to Society in Pre-modern and Modern Times. Medieval History Journal. 2015;18(2):378-403.
Arlinghaus, F. - J. (2015). In and Out, Then and Now: The Conscious Self and its Relation to Society in Pre-modern and Modern Times. Medieval History Journal, 18(2), 378-403.
Arlinghaus, F. - J. (2015). In and Out, Then and Now: The Conscious Self and its Relation to Society in Pre-modern and Modern Times. Medieval History Journal 18, 378-403.
Arlinghaus, F.-J., 2015. In and Out, Then and Now: The Conscious Self and its Relation to Society in Pre-modern and Modern Times. Medieval History Journal, 18(2), p 378-403.
F.-J. Arlinghaus, “In and Out, Then and Now: The Conscious Self and its Relation to Society in Pre-modern and Modern Times”, Medieval History Journal, vol. 18, 2015, pp. 378-403.
Arlinghaus, F.-J.: In and Out, Then and Now: The Conscious Self and its Relation to Society in Pre-modern and Modern Times. Medieval History Journal. 18, 378-403 (2015).
Arlinghaus, Franz-Josef. “In and Out, Then and Now: The Conscious Self and its Relation to Society in Pre-modern and Modern Times”. Medieval History Journal 18.2 (2015): 378-403.
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