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Reading and conversation with Andrea Newerla

For centuries, love stories have followed the script “in love, engaged, married” – or in contemporary language: date, crush, fall in love, move in together, have children. Even queer lifestyles do not stop at this cultural pattern.


But intimate coexistence in Germany has long looked different: the number of people wanting to get married has been falling for decades, while at the same time the divorce rate is rising, one-person households are constantly increasing and mothers and fathers are often single parents. Many seniors become lonely. In her book “The End of the Romantic Dictate. “Why we should rethink closeness, relationships and love” (Kösel, 2023), sociologist Andrea Newerla looks at ways of life and relationships that go beyond the traditional and heteronormative script.

That evening, Andrea Newerla will read from her current book and talk to Alexander Graeff about new ways of intimacy, the importance of friendship for future communities of responsibility and chosen families, about the cultural and social background of the romantic relationship - and about why it is so difficult to get rid of this most stubborn of all social norms.

Andrea Newerla has a doctorate in sociology and most recently researched intimacies, online dating and relationship patterns beyond heteronormative standards as a senior scientist at the Paris Lodron University in Salzburg. Her research findings serve as starting questions for a new perspective on intimate relationships and provide the basis for examining changing social obligations for her book.

Alexander Graeff is a writer, literature program manager at Brotfabrik Berlin and initiator of the reading series “Writing against the norm(s)?”. His essays from recent years take a literary-sociological look at queer approaches to contemporary literature. He has been polyamorous for fifteen years.