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Title: Heralds of change? : on the societal function of Weimar Republic journals, 1918-1933
Author: Hanisch, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 2590
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates how societal change is represented and negotiated in Weimar Republic journals. I advance the idea that journals serve as unique crystallisations of the negotiation of social change within social communities due to their inherent periodicity, polyphony and materiality. I elucidate how these journals function, both as material objects with their own specific identities and within Weimar society more generally. To do so, I examine six selected journals: Die Weltbühne, Kladderadatsch, Simplicissimus, Die Gartenkunst, Sport im Bild and Fürs Haus. Together, these journals cover a wide range of bourgeois communities, exemplifying a multiplicity of strategies in order to negotiate the challenges posed by modernisation to their communal identities as well as to the individual identities of their creators and readers. This thesis thus establishes a history of small steps visible in the continuous development of the journals' content and material form, offering an understanding of history as a continuous development of social practices rather than a history of caesuras and breaks. Accordingly, I propose that journals tell us about culture, their material Eigenlogik setting them apart from newspaper and book alike. I then develop a notion of culture as dynamic and of journal communities as communities of practice. Next, I provide a case study of the Simplicissimus's communal practices materialised in shifts of its editorial content and material form, before generalising these findings to include non-authorial voices in advertisements and letters to the editor. Finally, I investigate the negotiation of modernisation in the form of sport and the "New Woman" in the journals, highlighting the concurrency of discourse and active participation, and the coexistence of rejection and incorporation. Ultimately, Weimar journal communities exhibit a continuity of social practices and identities that span from the Kaiserreich to Nazi Germany, both negotiating and furthering modernisation in the process.
Supervisor: Morgan, Ben Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; New College 1379 Old Members Society
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Germany ; Periodicals ; Social history ; Weimar Republic