Everything Perfect? Optimisation of Self and Body Between Power and Powerlessness – Lecture by Prof. Dr. Vera King

10.07.2024, 18:30

Self-optimisation is, even in times of crisis, a consequential guiding principle of contemporary culture and can relate to various areas: work or leisure, beauty or health, one’s own ‘performance’ or relationships with others. What effects does a focus on optimising self and body have on people? What does the pursuit of improvement mean, and when or how can it backfire?

The lecture by Prof. Dr. Vera King discusses the power and powerlessness, as well as the contradictions, of contemporary optimisation culture, using examples. It sheds light on the yearnings, compulsions, and fears expressed within it from a social-psychological perspective.

Prof. Dr. Vera King is Executive Director of the Sigmund Freund Institute and Professor of Sociology and Psychoanalytic Social Psychology at Goethe University Frankfurt. She previously held a professorship for Socialisation and Developmental Research at the University of Hamburg.

Her research focuses on the effects of societal change on culture and psyche, particularly phenomena of self- and body-optimisation and the consequences of digitalization. In 2021, she co-published the book Lost in Perfection. The Optimisation of Society and Psyche with Prof. Dr. Benigna Gerisch and Prof. Dr. Hartmut Rosa, published by Suhrkamp Verlag.

The lecture is part of the accompanying programme for the current exhibition Who has Power? Striking Bodies, which features new works by artists Gintarė Sokelytė and Sonja Yakovleva, and can be seen at the Frankfurter Kunstverein until 4 August 2024.

Admission to the lecture costs €5. Registration is not required. Standard admission fees apply for visiting the exhibition.
Please note that the lecture will take place in german.