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Streitraum 2015/16: Tolerated Injustice?

How much inequality, how much injustice can a society actually endure? Have we now become so inured that we accept injustice as having – in Angela Merkel’s words – »no alternative«? How has it come about that the hardships and desires of the disadvantaged – the demands and protests of women or Muslims or the elderly – are now only raised by these people themselves and rarely succeed in mobilising those who are not directly affected? Is fatigue the reason for our willingness to tolerate economic inequality to an ever-growing extent? Or is it fear? Which strategies, which visions are required for the project of building a fair society? What significance does education have in this, what roles can theatre, film and literature play in generating images and narratives of equality and justice?

Streitraum 2014/15: In Search of Democracy – or the Public Sphere and Mistrust

What is the current state of democracy? Has it become, as American theorist Wendy Brown believes, an empty term to which everyone stakes a claim but which no one any longer knows how to fill with legitimate practices and convictions? Has it lost its place in times during which the nation state appears to have grown increasingly irrelevant as a political agent? In times during which private corporations and quasi-governmental secret services can establish apparently extrajudicial regimes undisturbed: how and where can political legitimacy be generated? At the same time, a structural change of the public sphere is transforming the traditional media landscape: discourses about democratic selfdetermination are increasingly relocating to online social networks and, in doing so, are subject to different requirements and opportunities of privacy and being in the public domain, of vulnerability and self-empowerment. In this twofold crisis of representation, in which both the institutions of democracy and of the media are being brought into question, where is the place in which our political, social and aesthetic needs, desires and rights can be negotiated and claimed?

Streitraum 2013/14: Politics of Emotions

The politics of emotions is currently a hot topic in various debates. On the one hand, writers like the sociologist Eva Illouz interrogate the logic and formation of emotions in capitalism. How much is our understanding of love and happiness shaped by consumerism and the current structures of earning a living? How much are our views on relation- ships, masculinity, femininity and sexuality informed by media images from advertisements and films? In the discourse on the financial crisis, politicians and theorists, filmmakers and writers operate with an emotional vocabulary. It appears to have become a rhetorical commonplace that it is all about »greed«. The received wisdom that the uncertainties in the analysis of the causes and consequences of the crisis provoke deep »anxieties« is another discursive place-filler. And then there are all those questions posed by philosophers like Martha Nussbaum: which role do emotions play in a democracy? Do they simply jeopardise democratic cohesion? What is the relationship between justice and emotions? Between freedom and emotions?

Streitraum 2012/13: Post-democracy – is democracy at an end or just encrustation that has paralysed it?

Since Colin Crouch’s thesis on post-democracy, debate simmers over the loss of legitimacy for classical, representative democracy. Is society re-politicising itself or is democracy only made up of the shells of its former institutions? We are currently living through a double crisis – one of the dissolution of parliamentary democracy, the other, the dissolution of the media, which should ideally be present to accompany and critically challenge the dissolution! If this is the case, Streitraum must pose the question: By what other means of expression can social movements and previously excluded milieus articulate themselves? And what role does theatre, film and social media play? Streitraum 2012/13, a series of talks and debates, will systematically and philosophically pose questions, as always, enriched by the input of artists and filmmakers.

Streitraum 2011/12: Fear Eats the Soul

Fear dominates our thinking and our politics. Fear of nuclear catastrophes, of the unknown, of losing one’s place in society. How rational are such fears? Which fears do we need? And what role in avoiding the hysterical, subversive power of fear does art play? During the 2011/12 season, the Schaubühne’s Streitraum will hold debates with artists, scientists and politicians.

Use of title with friendly permission of the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation (RWFF).