Privilegien in der Moderne

FernUniversität Hagen
Walgenbach, Katharina

It is a central promise of modernity that not birth, status, or religion should determine one’s social position in society but individual achievements. The central thesis underpinning this paper is that privileges have become invisible in the modern age. It is further argued that the meritocratic narrative significantly contributes to this invisibilization. However, the invisibility of privileges in the modern era does not mean that they do not exist. For this reason, the second part of the article elaborates on central assumptions of Privilege Studies (Critical Whiteness Studies, Educational Privileges, Heteronormativity, Masculinity Studies, Ableism Studies, Occidentalism Studies) to contribute to a theorization of privilege. At the end of the article, this synthesis finally leads to initial considerations for developing the analytical term ‘structural privileges,’ with which invisibilized privileges in modernity could be grasped.

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