Der Journalist als Menschentypus. Walter Benjamin und der Professionalisierungsdiskurs um 1930

Hansjakob Ziemer


This article reconstructs the professionalization debate about journalists at the end of the Weimar Republic. While journalism has been called into question as a profession since the rise of the press, its uncertain status, its lack of a binding institution, and the denial of public recognition created a strong need among journalists to explain and legitimize their professional identity as public knowledge producers. Around 1930, the social crisis along with the decline of the job market intensified this struggle. This article takes its cue from Walter Benjamin’s observations of the German professions from 1930 and contextualizes them in the wider discourse in search of an accepted professional identity. By analyzing a wide range of sources (practical guidelines for the job search, self-reflective articles, encyclopedias, and others), this article shows how contemporaries developed the concept of the journalist as its own “human type” that could be distinguished from other professions and was based on essentialist biological and psychological assumptions. (HZ, in German)

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