Lost in Perfection. Impacts of Optimisation on Culture and Psyche

Organized by the research group of the APAS project (Univ. Hamburg, IPU Berlin, FSU Jena): Prof. Dr. Vera King, Prof. Dr. Benigna Gerisch, Prof. Dr. Hartmut Rosa, Dr. Diana Lindner, Christiane Beerbom, Katarina Busch, Benedikt Salfeld-Nebgen, Julia Schreiber, Niels Uhlendorf

The permanent struggle for optimization can be seen as one of the most significant cultural principles of contemporary Western societies: The incessant increase of performance and productivity, the constant pursuit of self-improvement and  human multitasking are considered necessary in order to keep pace with an accelerated, competitive modernity.

Hence, in different social fields and in everyday life activities, various necessities of optimization and new efforts in terms of perfection emerge creating conflicts and contradictions. Thus, the demand for constant improvement and increase in efficiency does not only have effects on work and education, but also on family life, parent-child-relationships and intimate relation-ships in respect to body and self, in the public as well as in the private realm. In this context, questions regarding psychic effects and costs, contradictions and limits of optimization are to be raised in this international, transdisciplinary conference. Furthermore, the effects of social transformations on individuals, the inter-relation between culture and psyche, including the shifts in regard to the meaning of 'pathology' and 'normality' are of particular interest.


The Conference is free of charge, please sign up via apas(at)uni-hamburg(dot)de.

Funded by VW Foundation in association with the initiative » Key Issues for Research and Society«.