Tragedy, Surrogation and the Significance of African-American Culture in Postunification Germany: An Interpretation of 'Schultze Gets the Blues'
German Politics and Society
In the aftermath of unification, the loss of job security and other forms of social support under East Germany's comprehensive (if increasingly inefficient and corrupt) system of welfare state paternalism, coupled with a newfound dependence on West German financial largesse, not only disoriented former East Germans, but also led to pressures on them to repress their past experiences of solidarity and distinctiveness. Schultze Gets the Blues, the critically acclaimed box office hit from director Michael Schorr, relates the story of a retired mineworker and accordionist for a town band in the economic backwaters of eastern Germany who undergoes a lifechanging conversion to the Cajun folk music of Zydeco. Drawing from Joseph Roach's notion of surrogation and Cornel West's articulation of an African-American tragic sensibility, this article casts Schultze in the role of a postunification mediating figure reconciling East German solidarity and localism with West German individualism and multiculturalism.
"Tragedy, Surrogation and the Significance of African-American Culture in Postunification Germany: An Interpretation of 'Schultze Gets the Blues'."
German Politics and Society, 26 (3): 69-62: Berghahn Journals.
doi: 10.3167/gps.2008.260304 source: https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/gps/26/3/gps260304.xml