Download Berlin Electropolis: Shock, Nerves, and German Modernity by Andreas Killen PDF

By Andreas Killen

Berlin Electropolis ties the German discourse on anxiousness within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries to Berlin's transformation right into a capital of the second one commercial revolution. targeting 3 key groups--railway team of workers, squaddies, and phone operators--Andreas Killen lines the emergence within the Eighties after which later decline of the assumption that modernity triggered anxious affliction. in this interval, Killen explains, Berlin grew to become arguably the main complex city in Europe. a number of adjustments, many linked to breakthroughs in applied sciences of transportation, conversation, and relaxation, mixed to greatly modify the form and pace of daily life in Berlin. The ensuing attention of speeded up social switch and the shocks and afflictions that followed it came across their consummate expression within the discourse approximately anxiousness. splendidly researched and obviously written, this booklet bargains a wealth of latest insights into the character of the trendy city, the mental aftermath of worldwide conflict I, and the operations of the German welfare country. Killen additionally explores cultural attitudes towards electrical energy, the evolution of psychiatric proposal and perform, and the prestige of girls employees in Germany's quickly industrializing economic climate. eventually, he argues that the backlash opposed to the welfare kingdom that happened throughout the overdue Weimar Republic caused the ultimate decoupling of modernity and anxious sickness.

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Additional info for Berlin Electropolis: Shock, Nerves, and German Modernity (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism)

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Moreover, unlike the middle classes, they found it harder to find relief from the conditions of their existence. 53 Even if Hellpach’s commentary revealed more about middle-class anxiety than it did about the situation of the working classes, the deployment of electricity in the workplace unquestionably produced significant changes in the nature of work and the bodies and mentalities of those who performed it. Some commentators, as we saw in the case of Rathenau, discerned visionary possibilities in the new symbiosis of machines and bodies.

These concerns were articulated in the new idiom of nerves by social psychologist Willy Hellpach. Hellpach regarded nervousness as a malaise rooted in the decline of traditional forms of work. 52 Cut off from Hand und Land, Germany’s urban workers fell prey to nervous disorders. Moreover, unlike the middle classes, they found it harder to find relief from the conditions of their existence. 53 Even if Hellpach’s commentary revealed more about middle-class anxiety than it did about the situation of the working classes, the deployment of electricity in the workplace unquestionably produced significant changes in the nature of work and the bodies and mentalities of those who performed it.

These included far-reaching programs of hospital reform, social hygiene, and lifestyle reform. To address the problem of mass nervousness, he favored creating a network of clinics and sanatoriums for working-class patients in and around the nation’s urban centers. Even while many doctors saw Germany’s industrial cities, especially Berlin, as breeding grounds for mental and nervous illness, BERLIN ELECTROPOLIS 39 others, such as Grotjahn, saw them as laboratories for a new kind of social modernity.

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