The Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany

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Verso, 1998 - Business & Economics - 122 pages
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A fascinating study of Germany society on the eve of Nazism. First published in 1930, Siegfried Kracauer's work was greeted with great acclaim and soon attained the status of a classic. The object of his inquiry was the new class of salaried employees who populated the cities of Weimar Germany. Spiritually homeless, divorced from all custom and tradition, these white-collar workers sought refuge in entertainment -- or the "distraction of industries," as Kracauer put it -- but, only three years late, were to flee into the arms of Adolf Hitler. Eschewing the instruments of traditional sociological scholarship, but without collapsing into mere journalistic reportage, Kracauer explores the contradictions of this caste. Drawing on conversations, newspapers, adverts and personal correspondence, he charts the bland horror of the everyday. In the process, Kracauer succeeds in writing not just a prescient account of the decline days of the Weimar Republic, but also a path-breaking exercise in the sociology of culture which has sharp relevance for today.
 

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Contents

Introduction by Inka MulderBach 1
18
Preface
25
Selection
33
Short break for ventilation
40
Enterprise within the enterprise
47
Alas so soon
53
Repair shop
60
A few choice specimens
68
Among neighbours
81
Shelter for the homeless
88
Seen from above
96
Dear colleagues ladies and gentlemen
102
A An outsider attracts attention
109
B Chronology
115
Translators note
121
Copyright

Refined informality
74

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About the author (1998)

Siegfried Kracauer (1889–1966) was one of Germany's leading cultural commentators and essayists.

Quintin Hoare is the director of the Bosnian Institute and has translated numerous works by Sartre, Antonio Gramsci, and other French authors. He lives in the United Kingdom.

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