The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany

The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany

David Blackbourn

Language: English

Pages: 300

ISBN: 0198730578

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"A well-written, stimulating. . . piece of scholarship." -German Studies Review. In a major re-evaluation of the cultural, political, and sociological assumptions about the "peculiar" course of modern German history, the authors challenge the widely-held belief that Germany did not have a Western-style bourgeois revolution. Contending that it did indeed experience one, but that this had little to do with the mythical rising of the middle class, the authors provide a new context for viewing the tensions and instability of 19th-and early 20th-century Germany.

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confusion, it should "be added that the term historicism as used by historians of Germany (and by historians more generally) has a quite opposite meaning from the one given to it by Karl Popper in The Poverty of Historicism. 30 Introduction the 1930s, between Bismarck's Imperial Germany and Hitler's Third Reich. The historicist approach showed a comparable lack of sympathy towards the anonymous forces they detected in economic and social history. Hence the combination of political and

influenced (in the mid-1970s) by the argument in N. Young, 'Prometheans or Troglodytes? The English Working Class and the Dialectics of Incorporation', Berkeley Journal of Sociology, XII (1967), 1-43. 11 This is particularly true of administrative histories and work on social policy, but more interestingly the same concern is present in much nineteenthcentury British social history too. See the collection of essays on reforming pressure groups, esp. the more general one by Brian Harrison, P.

dependence on the notion of forcibly acquired political liberalism and could be redefined more flexibly to mean the 'inauguration of the bourgeois epoch'—i.e. 'the successful installation of a legal and political framework for the unfettered development of industrial capitalism'. As Stedman Jones goes on, 'the triumph of the bourgeoisie should be seen as the global victory of a particular form of property relations and a particular form of control over the means of production, rather than as the

and Germany in the years after 1974. As we compared notes it became clearer that we were working in a similar direction. The idea of putting the two papers together took shape, and Dieter Groh suggested that we publish them in a new social history series he was then editing in the Federal Republic of Germany. The original German edition appeared in 1980 and was followed in 1983 by a Japanese edition. For the much revised and expanded English edition we have tried to take account of the

defensively in the 1871 Constitution. But 'parliamentarization' does not exhaust the possible forms of peaceful or relatively stable development for the Imperial German state as it entered the twentieth century. There is no reason (again in the abstract) to assume a priori that a modified or stabilized version of the Imperial state should be incapable of meeting the needs of the emerging capitalist social order. Once we acknowledge that the 'rule' of the bourgeoisie (as the dominant class in

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