Ausgabe 2/2009, 105. Jahrgang S. 169–183
Vorbilder als Kulturthema. Zur lebensgeschichtlichen
und kulturellen Bedeutung von Nachahmung
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The call for exemplary persons or role models is omnipresent in the public culture of today. In the media and in political speeches as well as in the private life of families and groups a presentable personal and professional career is often connected to the extra merit of being a role model for others. At the same time a general lack of people of this type is complained in public and private life. The article first analyzes the current boom of the notion „role model“ in the historical context of everyday culture. Thereafter the phenomenon of imitation, which is constitutive for the identification with other people, is discussed in the context of cultural transfer processes. Finally, I point out empirically based approaches to the topic of role models and to the more general research field of „imitation“.