Non-fiction – society, biography, and literary and cultural history

Christoph Bartmann
Die Rückkehr der Diener. Das neue Bürgertum und sein Personal

© Carl Hanser Verlag, München, 2016 Christoph Bartmann: Die Rückkehr der Diener. Das neue Bürgertum und sein Personal © Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 2016People born shortly after the war are often overstrained by the profusion of services on sale. After all, in the golden years of the Federal Republic of Germany, servants were regarded as social figures of the past. Their existence was difficult to square up with the desire for justice, upward social mobility, emancipation and equality. But an aversion to service can be overcome, and people can learn to be customers. Nevertheless, the services available in Manhattan’s better residential areas give rise to cultural irritation. Christoph Bartmann has used this subject as the basis of an essay which should be read by anyone interested in the lifestyle of the middle classes who does not believe that poverty statistics provide an adequate account of contemporary social issues.
Die Rückkehr der Diener (The Return of the Servants) combines forays into our environment with moral self-questioning, without boring readers with inconsequential appeals and cheap empty phrases of indignation, of course. (…) Bartmann is intelligent enough not to damn outright the use of service personnel. In nursing in particular, it is often impossible to manage without it. But his essay opens one’s eyes to the horrors of assisted existence that people tend to deny, advocating a lifestyle “that is not structurally dependent on personal resources to keep the account in balance”. Those in danger of missing out on “living life to the full” because of all the conveniences available will find in this book plenty of reasons to clean their own windows for a change. It gives you a clearer view.

Jens Bisky: „Wir Dienstherren; Putzfrauen, Pizzaboten, Pflegehelfer“
© Süddeutsche Zeitung, 25 August 2016

Christoph Bartmann
Die Rückkehr der Diener. Das neue Bürgertum und sein Personal
Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 2016
ISBN 978-3-446-25287-5
288 pages


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