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Struggling for legitimate meaning: Agent-structure dynamics in German filmmaking

Werkstatt-Eintrag am 20. Januar 2021

Eine umfassende Analyse der Akteurskonstellationen im Produktionsprozess deutscher Kinospielfilme und deren Folgen für die filmische Wirklichkeitskonstruktion ist jetzt im International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics erschienen. Theoriegeleitet und gestützt auf 97 Experteninterviews sowie Dokumentenanalysen.


Given the state sponsorship of film production in Germany, this article examines general mechanisms in the formation of meaning in German filmmaking. With reference to Schimank’s framework of agent–structure dynamics and based on a constructivist understanding of the world, the results of 97 expert interviews with screenwriters, directors, producers, distributors, cinema theatre operators, funding representatives and public television editors, as well as document analyses, show that the medium’s construction of reality is anything but unconditioned. On the contrary, due to the fundamental role of film funding and public television in the agent constellations intertwined with social structures that shape the film production process in Germany, the medium’s key communicators are confronted with expectations that go far beyond economic parameters. More precisely, the article reveals that German filmmaking reflects a political dimension, and expresses hierarchies and constraints that prompt struggles for legitimate meaning and challenge any autonomous practice in the field.

Thomas Wiedemann: Struggling for legitimate meaning: Agent-structure dynamics in German filmmaking. In: International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 16. Jg. (2020), S. 291-308.

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