Walter Hollstein

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Walter Hollstein (* 1939 in Osnabrück ) is a Swiss sociologist . He has lived in Basel as a freelance writer since 2007 . Hollstein has published a large number of monographs (initially on the alternative movement, later on men's research ).


Walter Hollstein was born in Osnabrück as the son of the German soccer coach Walter Hollstein . After attending school in Basel, Frankfurt am Main , Osnabrück and Lausanne studied Hollstein to the promotion of Dr. phil. at the University of Basel and at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster . He then worked as a journalist for the national newspaper (now Basler Zeitung ) and Weltwoche (Zurich). As a travel correspondent , he also reported from Beirut and Cairo . Alternative projects (communication center, bookstore) in Basel followed. From 1971 Hollstein was Professor of Political Sociology at the Evangelical University of Berlin-Dahlem and again participated in the development of alternative projects in Berlin (for example a shared apartment for homeless young people). From 2000 to 2006, Hollstein was a professor at the Institute for Gender and Generational Research at the University of Bremen .

Public work

Hollstein received the German Non-Fiction Prize for his publication Die Gegengesellschaft - Alternative Lebensformen . He was a member of the Enquête Commission for Youth Issues of the German Bundestag and a consultant for the Council of Europe on juvenile delinquency as well as a consultant for the Council of Europe on male and gender issues . Hollstein taught as a visiting professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). He is a member of various men's projects in Switzerland and Germany and co-founder of the International Working Group for Men's Research (Vienna) and the AG Men's and Gender Research (Berlin).


Hollstein is regarded as a critic of what he himself called “profeminist mainstream in politics, science and the media”, which obscures the view of a profound upheaval in the world of men: “Even the once positive qualities of being a man are now socially reinterpreted. Male courage is denounced as male aggressiveness, motivation to perform turns into careerism, assertiveness turns into male domination, meaningful contradiction into male definition power ”. The fact that this development is neglected has "devastating consequences for the formation of male identities in boys and young men."

Hollstein calls for independent research and politics for men. An “elaborate feminist philosophy, sociology, history and literary studies” is nothing comparable on the men’s side; a “male deficit of reflection and self-criticism” must be eliminated, since “the self-evident of masculinity under the consequential burden of masculine progressive ideology and under the pressure of Women's movement to simply collapse ”begin.

The lack of a men’s policy has devastating consequences not only for men, but for society as a whole: “Without constructive offers from social institutions, the identity crisis of men will become increasingly irrational in the coming years (e.g. growing right-wing extremism and willingness to use violence). Although men wipe out entire families almost every day in relationship crises, women's shelters are overcrowded and male violence is increasing significantly, only women's policy is made on the political level. There is neither a rudimentary male policy nor preventive measures. "

Hollstein also takes a critical look at the men's rights movement . Although you name some of the important problems, you see the cause of all problems not in male behavior, but exclusively outside. They rightly complain about the poor health of men, but polemicize against changes in men , which is existentially wrong : “The men's rights movement rightly criticizes the social and political dealings with men, but it ignores what men themselves do. One example is the glorification of types like Strauss-Kahn or Kachelmann . The argument with false accusations , which have already ruined a number of men, is of course correct; But the lousy relationship behavior of Strauss-Kahn and Kachelmann and a few others should not be forgotten. (...) When men's rights organizations look so half-blindly at reality, they need not be surprised that they are not very popular. "

In recent publications and interviews, he pointed to deficits in school education for boys and a lack of political concepts for effective extracurricular work with boys.


Hollstein's early work on male research was considered fundamental in German-speaking countries. Holger Brandes sees Hollstein's Not Rulers, But Strong from 1988 as the actual starting point of men's research in Germany, Dag Schölper sums up Hollstein's importance for men's research as follows:

“Hollstein's pioneering achievement was twofold. On the one hand, he made issues of the women's movement and men's groups compatible with social science discussions. On the other hand, he summarized the current state of discussion in US men's studies and thus made the American findings available to a broader German-speaking audience for the first time, which could be built on from then on. "

- Dag Schölper, 2008

Hollstein's later work, on the other hand, is judged much more critically. In his review of Was vom Manne Left in the Süddeutsche Zeitung , Oliver Müller sees a major problem in the fact that Hollstein brought things together that actually do not belong together. Violence by young men in Germany is less a matter of male identity loss, but has social, educational and professional causes. According to Müller, the complaint about the allegedly only negative evaluation of masculinity now leads to a “latent conspiracy-theoretical mood”.

For Ernst Horst ( FAZ ), Hollstein's arguments, which he calls "propaganda", are on "shaky feet". He mostly writes the truth, but systematically selects. When criticizing the custody decisions of German courts, he ignored the fact that women, according to the reviewer, “are more likely to have the talent and need to raise a child” than men.

For the psychologist Gerhard Hafner, Hollstein is one of those men's rights activists who generally see themselves as victims of women. Hollstein has been propagating for more than twenty years that after the feminist victory, discrimination against men should finally be on the social agenda. "Victim masculists like Hollstein aim at a modernization of masculinity [...] However, they do not shake fundamentally dualistic ideas of what distinguishes men from women."

Publications (selection)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. TeBe-Histories / Hollstein, Walter ( Memento of the original from October 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed May 26, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Neue Zürcher Zeitung of September 23, 2006, quoted by Sidney Davenport: "Women's rights movement" as group-related misanthropy. In: Friday , July 9th, 2011.
  3. Walter Hollstein: Men Dawn: From perpetrators, victims, villains and heroes. Göttingen 1999, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, ISBN 978-3-525-01454-7 , p. 8.
  4. The crisis of masculinity. Walter Hollstein's website, accessed September 29, 2012.
  5. Alexander Ulfig: Prof. Walter Hollstein: About the (self) condemnation of men. Interview with Prof. Dr. Walter Hollstein, sociologist and male researcher. April 17, 2012, accessed September 30, 2012 .
  6. Barbara Jung: When is a man a man? In: Focus online , January 31, 2011; Interview.
  7. Holger Brandes: The male habitus. Volume 2: Men's research and men's policy , Opladen 2002, ISBN 3-8100-3258-1 , p. 16.
  8. Dag Schölper: Men and masculinity research - an overview. in: gender ... politics ... online , September 2008 (online)
  9. Oliver Müller: Beyond the pleasure travel mentality. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , September 2, 2008 (online)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. .@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  10. Ernst Horst: A rooster who would like to be bigger. Men behind: Walter Hollstein worries about the stronger sex. In: FAZ , June 23, 2008 (online) .
  11. Gerhard Hafner: The fight against purple poodles , Friday, April 9, 2013 Note: Gerhard Hafner published on the topics of male labor and male violence and works as a psychologist with violent men.