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Carolin Albers


On Fraternities in Tübingen




As someone growing up in Tübingen, from an early age, you cannot help but be aware of the university fraternities – or rather their mansions, their fortresses, castles, or whatever you want to call the houses their members live in. These houses, recognizable because of the flag posts they have on their roof tops, are mostly lined up along the “Österberg” and the “Schlossberg” in Tübingen. The inhabitants are not often seen, or rather, they are not necessarily recognized, unless they walk through the city wearing their characteristic caps or ribbons. Fraternities polarize. For many people, fraternities are a sexist, right-wing, beer drinking bunch of men who make a career and earn a lot of money through their old boys’ networks. On the other hand, fraternity students naturally try to disprove their negative image. They talk about the great community that supports its members throughout their lives. I have no private contacts in this scene, knew only the prejudices and automatically would keep a social distance when learning from a person that he was in a fraternity (no matter which). But I wanted to know more. I wanted to get an insight into a world that was closed to me until then - classic journalistic curiosity. Who are the people who live in these houses, who adorn themselves with ribbons and caps (not all do), who have a flag on their roof, and who are, for the most part, men? How did they come to their fraternity? What were their motivations for joining a fraternity with its traditions and its sometimes stricter, sometimes less strict rules? Are the stereotypes true? There are more than 30 fraternities in Tübingen, and the spectrum is wide: each fraternity is different, has its own rules and its own unique selling point. The portrait series shows fraternity students from different fraternities in Tübingen. (2018-2020)

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