n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Zum Zusammenwirken von Prekärem, Arbeit und Identität in Franz Kafkas Die Verwandlung - allgemeine Beiträge / general contributions to German studies

Volume 47 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1273


Interaction of Precariousness, Work and Identity in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.

The postmodern world does not tolerate fixed and homogenous identities. The emergence of new forms of identity designations is indicated by concepts such as new ethnicity, relational identity‚ rhizomorphic identity and the third space. These identity paradigms arising from permanent processes are characterised by their heterogeneity, discontinuity and instability, in a word by their precariousness. In fact, precariousness has become, within the context of postmodernism, and even globalisation, the trademark of identity. However, it is not only in those fleeting and contextual moments of identification, which arise from interstitial passage, but also within the construction of identity models, that precarious working conditions play a role. This interaction of precariousness, work and identity can be illustrated with reference to Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Based on poststructural identity theories and the Marxist understanding of work, the present contribution demonstrates that precarious working conditions inevitably have a negative effect on value-neutral, precarious identity, which is inherent to human nature.

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