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Andreas Haller

Mythical Spaces of Lawlessness


Mythical Spaces of Lawlessness

My dissertation project focuses on constellations of lawless spaces in Western literature. The question is how imaginations of an alternative social order, beyond the legally regulated territory of the state, are expressed through the myth of the social bandit, the good outlaw.
Although the social bandit, in Eric Hobsbawm’s sense, is a phenomenon of the rupture between agricultural and industrial society, we encounter this figure in the modern popular culture even today. My hypothesis is that its persistent existence in contemporary culture marks an imaginary exit point for the modern subject. The imagined mythical space of lawlessness, the wilderness, seems to be free of the constraints of modern life. The Romantic idea of roaming in the woods or cruising on a pirate ship through the Seven Seas is linked to the image of genuine freedom and pre-legal justice.
The outlaw gang which constitutes itself in this wilderness posits an alternative model to bourgeois society and its bureaucratic rule. Selected stories about outlaws will be studied in regard of the gang as an „imagined community“ (Benedict Anderson) contrary to the state and the nation. In the gang it seems like community is not based on abstract principles (language, culture, territory, law) but on inter-personal affinities and dependencies. 

  • Postadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    c/o Historisches Seminar
    Rempartstr. 15 - KG IV
    79085 Freiburg 
  • Besuchsadresse:

    Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
    DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288
    Erbprinzenstraße 13
    79098 Freiburg
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