In der Gegenwart der Anderen. Norbert Elias über Leben und Sterben in der modernen Gesellschaft


  • Małgorzata Bogaczyk-Vormayr


death, loneliness, homo clausus, We-I-Balance, anamnestic reason, nihilism, biopolitics, conditio humana / conditio inhumana


In the presence of others. Norbert Elias on life and death in modern society: This article addresses Norbert Elias’s essay The Loneliness of the Dying (1982). In the first part the author reviews Elias’s ideas on how the contemporary social structure has produced characteristic problems for dying. In our age, the phenomena and the reality of death are pushed behind the scenes of social life. The second part presents one of the most important theses in this paper, i.e. the idea of anamnestic reason. The author gives her reflection on the Eliasian concepts of communication, engagement, and balance of power. This We-I-Balance as a learning process should lead to rebalancing and redefinition of anamnestic reason / collective memory. In the third part the author briefly illustrates some similarities between Elias’ category of death and two other ideas: nihilism by T. Różewicz and biopolitics by G. Agamben.