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Visions of Modernity : American Business and the Modernization of Germany - Mary Nolan

Visions of Modernity

American Business and the Modernization of Germany

Paperback Published: 11th August 1994
ISBN: 9780195088755
Number Of Pages: 336

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In much the same way that Japan has become the focus of contemporary American discussion about industrial restructuring, Germans in the economic reform in terms of Americanism and Fordism, seeing in the United States an intriguing vision for a revitalized economy and a new social order.

During the 1920s, Germans were fascinated by American economic success and its quintessential symbols, Henry Ford and his automobile factories. Mary Nolan's book explores the contradictory ways in which trade unionists and industrialists, engineers and politicians, educators and social workers explained American economic success, envisioned a more efficient or "rationalized" economic system for Germany, and anguished over the social and cultural costs of adopting the American version of modernity. These debates about Americanism and Fordism deeply shaped German perceptions of what was economically and socially possible and desirable in terms of technology and work, family and gender relations, consumption and culture. Nolan examines efforts to transform production and consumption, factories and homes, and argues that economic Americanism was implemented ambivalently and incompletely, producing, in the end, neither prosperity nor political stability.

Vision of Modernity will appeal not only to scholars of German History and those interested in European social and working-class history, but also to industrial sociologists and business scholars.

"Mary Nolan's keenly awaited book on rationalization is a timely reminder that economics is too important to be left to the economists alone...The book shows beautifully the necessary interrelationship of business history, labor history, and women's history for an understanding of this complex field of questions, and makes an unanswerable case for the mainstreaming of the concerns pioneered during the last two decades by women's history."--Geoff Eley, Department of History, University of Michigan "An excellent economic, political, social, and cultural history of how Weimar Germany "Germanized" its perceptions of Americanism both conceptually and in practice."--CHOICE "Nolan's nuanced attention to the class politics and conflicts underlying the reception of Americanism and the articulation of German rationalization prompts an important rethinking and rewriting of the dramatic story of labor and capital during the Weimar Republic. Nolan offers compelling insights...Nolan's excellent study offers rich and persuasive evidence that rationalization created new divisions within the German working class while intensifying old ones...[A] notable expansion of the still-underdeveloped field of German gender history...it is certain to become a classic for a wide audience of historians."--International Labor and Working Class History "With the wealth of information it contains on a fascinating, albeit ultimately ill-fated, attempt at modernization, the book will be a valuable resource for students of German history, culture, and politics."--Journal of Modern History "[A] fascinating read. [The book] represents an exciting approach to history writing that escapes easy categorization and that illuminates interconnections and intersections among the realms of economy, society, politics, and culture..."--Central European History

Abbreviationsp. xi
Introductionp. 3
Imagining America
Journeys to Americap. 17
Travelers and Commentatorsp. 18
Motivesp. 22
Itinerariesp. 26
The Infatuation with Fordismp. 30
The Man and the Bookp. 32
Fordism as Productivismp. 36
Taylorism and Fordismp. 42
Fordism as Consumptionp. 50
Fordism as Ideologyp. 54
American Economic Success and German Emulationp. 58
The Secrets of American Economic Successp. 59
Americanizing Germany/Germanizing Americanismp. 70
Work, Workers, and the Workplace in Americap. 83
Quality Work and the Quality Workerp. 84
Intensity and Monotonyp. 90
Joy in Workp. 98
The Shop Floor and the Firmp. 103
The Cultural Consequences of Americanismp. 108
Mass Consumptionp. 109
The American Womanp. 120
Modernizing Germany
The Paradoxes of Productivismp. 131
The National Productivity Boardp. 133
Ruhr Coal Miningp. 137
Iron and Steelp. 143
Machine Makingp. 149
Winners and Losersp. 154
Pricesp. 155
Costsp. 158
Wagesp. 160
Profitsp. 165
Work and Unemploymentp. 167
Reactions and Responsesp. 172
Engineering the New Workerp. 179
Company Social Policy and Social Rationalizationp. 180
Origins and Ideology of Dintap. 185
Constructing the New Workerp. 192
Company Newspapers and Social Programsp. 196
Trade Union Responsesp. 200
The Battle for the Soul of the Workerp. 203
Hoysework Made Easyp. 206
The RKW and Houseworkp. 207
The New Woman in the New Homep. 211
The Ambiguities of Household Rationalizationp. 217
Epiloguep. 227
Notesp. 237
Bibliographic Essayp. 307
Indexp. 314
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195088755
ISBN-10: 0195088751
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 11th August 1994
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.47 x 15.62  x 2.24
Weight (kg): 0.49