Visions of Modernity: American Business and the Modernization of Germany

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byMary Nolan

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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 workersexplained 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 waseconomically 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 andincompletely, 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.

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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 Ame...

About the Author: Mary Nolan is Professor of History at New York University. She is the author of Social Democracy and Society: Working-class Radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920 (1981).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.17 × 6.14 × 0.91 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195088751

ISBN - 13:9780195088755

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"...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