World as Heimat: Ernst Bloch and the Future of a Contested Term


  • Tobias Lehmann University of Oregon



This paper examines the interaction between Heimat as a social construct and the authentic longing for Heimat and security in Ernst Bloch’s magnum opus The Principle of Hope. Echoing the language of globalization and hypermobility, the ideas of place-lessness and detachment from specific locations seem to be the fundamental characteristics of today’s life. But behind this lies the human need to continuously establish new perceptions of Heimat and new practices of Heimat-making. Heimat, then, I argue, is not a romantic, fixed, and limited place to be protected. It is a pluralistic and conflict-ridden sphere of agency that can foster social exclusion, but which can also open up new connections and possibilities for human self-determination.

Author Biography

Tobias Lehmann, University of Oregon

Tobias Lehmann is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of German and Scandinavian at the University of Oregon. After receiving a B.A. in History and in Social Sciences from the University of Erfurt in Germany and a Master of International Studies in East-Asian Studies from Sogang University in South Korea, he started the doctoral program in German literature in 2019. His research focus is on Post-War Literature with emphasis on East Germany. He is writing his dissertation on the idea of home and memory in contemporary East German novels and memoirs. He has also published articles on Monika Maron’s contemporary novels, the meaning of border, division and unification in East German memoirs, art as a means of resistance, translation theories, and German language teaching. He has recently presented at German Studies conferences on Holocaust memoirs and poetry, political philosophy, and critical feminist thought.




How to Cite

Lehmann, T. (2024). World as Heimat: Ernst Bloch and the Future of a Contested Term. Konturen, 13.