Günter Grass Network Analysis


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Network Map of the the SPD during the 1969 West German Elections

This network graph is focused on conveying the importance of Günter Grass, the German-Kashubian novelist and essay in the process of the Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) network in 1969, the year the SDP won control of the Bundestag and began the Grand Coalition with the Free Democratic Party, which lasted until 1982. Essentially, Grass did not possess a great number of connections – only about three. However, one is to Willy Brandt, the leader of the SDP and future Chancellor of Germany (Helmut Schmidt, who is also represented here would precede Brandt as Chancellor.) Through Grass’ connection with Brandt, he is able to express influence disproportionate to his relative connectivity.

This graph also includes the Chair of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union Chairman (CDU/CSU), Kurt-Georg Kiesenger and Free Democratic Party (FDP) chairman, Walter Scheel. The intent here is to show the proximity Brandt (and therefore Grass) had to other political organizations.



  • A line denotes a connection
  • SDP members are in red
  • CDU/CSU members are in blue
  • FDP members are in gold



Grass, Günter. 1972. From the Diary of the Snail. Mariner Books.


Morgan, Roger. Nov, 1969. “The 1969 Election in West Germany.” The World Today. 25 (11). Pp. 470-8.


“Wahl zum 6. Deutschen Bundestag am 28. September 1969.” 2015. Der Bundeswahlleteir. https://www.bundeswahlleiter.de/de/bundestagswahlen/fruehere_bundestagswahlen/btw1969.html. Accessed May 7, 2016.


A Political Introduction to Günter Grass

**Disclaimer: this post also appears on Discourses on Liberty**

-Alex Donovan Cole

The problems of modernity are indeed disconcerting, but they have always been with us.   Chiefly, modernity’s major problem is its lack of a readily apparent vital center for politics, whether in the form of a common identity or a common moral outlook.  This most often appears in the conflict between what Taylor calls “moral sources.”  According to Charles Taylor, “the drive to original vision will be hampered, will ultimately be lost in inner confusion, unless it can be placed in some way in relation to the language and vision of others.”[1]  The primary actor modernity concerns itself with, however, is the individual subject, making the possibility of this relation to “the vision of others” more difficult.


Taylor writes, “selfhood and the good” to the moderns “turn out to be inextricably intertwined themes.”[2]  Indeed, subjectivity allows an individual human being to evaluate claims regarding politics and personal ethics and pursue a lifestyle based upon their subjective understanding insofar as this lifestyle does not present a danger to others.  Despite the differences in moral outlooks, Taylor argues that the common claim of modernism is: “We…feel particularly strongly the demand for universal justice and beneficence, are peculiarly sensitive to claims of equality, feel the demands to freedom and self-rule as axiomatically justified, and put a very high priority on the avoidance of death and suffering.”[3] 

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