How to gauge the impact of cultural products is an old question, but bureaucratic agendas such as the one recently implemented in the UK to measure the impact of university research (including in German Studies) are new. Impact is seen as confirming a cultural product's value for society -- not least in the eyes of cultural funders. Yet its use as an evaluative category has been widely criticized by academics. Rather than rejecting the concept of impact, however, this volume employs it as a metaphor to reflect on issues of transmission, reception, and influence that have always underlain cultural production but have escaped systematic conceptualization. It seeks to understand how culture works in the German-speaking world: how writers and artists express themselves, how readers and audiences engage with the resulting products, and how academics are drawn to analyze this dynamic process. Formulating such questions afresh in the context of German Studies, the volume examines both contemporary cultural discourse and the way it evolves more generally. It links such topics as authorial intention, readerly reception, intertextuality, and modes of perception to less commonly studied phenomena, such as the institutional practices of funding bodies, that underpin cultural discourse.
Contributors: David Barnett, Laura Bradley, Rebecca Braun, Sarah Colvin, Anne Fuchs, Katrin Kohl, Karen Leeder, Jürgen Luh, Jenny McKay, Ben Morgan, Gunther Nickel, Chloe Paver, Joanne Sayner, Matthew Philpotts, Jane Wilkon.
Rebecca Braun is Lecturer in German Studies at the University of Lancaster and Lyn Marven is Lecturer in German at the University of Liverpool.
A] splendid exercise in "reclaiming" [the concept of "impact"]. Ably edited, fully accessible to readers without German . . . . Most contributors engage in stimulating debate with one another in their chapters, lending this volume a rare coherence. The quality is a most uniformly high . . . . This is a book which deserves wide attention for the excellence and its case studies and stimulating explorations in cultural theory. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW
The implications of assessing "impact" for the future of modern languages . . . make it a particularly sensitive area, so the publication of [this book] is, in all senses, a timely one. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES
Reflects productively on the concept of "impact," not only as a category in contemporary political discourse, but in terms of the transmission, reception, and influence of cultural products. . . . [A] timely and original contribution to our understanding of the interactive processes of negotiation between cultural products, socio-historical context and the construction of political and cultural identity. THIS YEAR'S WORK IN MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES
[T]he scope and ambition of the volume is to be applauded . . . . JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN STUDIES