This introductory chapter discusses the significance of studying different genres such as political theory (Hannah Arendt), fiction (Franz Kafka), cultural criticism (Walter Benjamin), film (Germany in Autumn), and drama (Heiner Müller). The book aims to relate these works through certain political, juridical, and, particularly, ethical questions, as each of them deals with a specific ethical concern within the confines of a “medium.” This medium follows no purpose or goal other than its own mediatic force—that ethical force that forges itself in relation to explicitly discussed conceptions of ethics and displaces them. The links of between genres and media here are of proximity rather than integration, of contact rather than synthesis. The book examines how the differences among media are played out within each work as an inherent conflict of structures.
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