The Skin of the System: On Germany's Socialist Modernity

October 31, 2020
The Skin of the System: On Germany's Socialist Modernity

The Skin of the System objects to the idea that thereis only one modernity―that of liberal capitalism. Starting from thesimple conviction that whatever else East German socialism was, itwas real, this book focuses on what made historical socialismdifferent from social systems in the West. In this way, the studyelicits the general question: what must we think in order to thinkan other system at all?To approach this question, Robinson turns to the remarkablewriter Franz Fühmann, the East German who most single-mindedlydedicated himself to understanding what it means to transform fromfascism to socialism. Fühmann's own serial loyalties to Hitler andStalin inform his existential meditations on change and difference.By placing Fühmann's politically alert and intensely personalliterary inventions in the context of an inquiry into radicalsocial rupture, The Skin of the System wrests the brutalmateriality of twentieth-century socialism from attempts toprovincialize both its desires and its failures as antimodernideological follies.