Geschichte und Diskurse- History and Discourse
Edited By Godela Weiss-Sussex and Ulrike Zitzlsperger
This interdisciplinary volume explores the history of Berlin department stores in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The contributions consider aspects of economic history, gender-related and Jewish studies, advertising, town-planning, design and architecture. All articles focus on contemporary discourses and debates on the department store as a symbol of modernity.
Die Debatte um das Warenhaus. Vom Deutschen Kaiserreich bis zur Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Detlef Briesen)
17 Die Debatte um das Warenhaus. Vom Deutschen Kaiserreich bis zur Bundesrepublik Deutschland Detlef Briesen Abstract The department store, the first modern type of retail business in Germany, introduced important innovations for retailers and consumers, namely the rapid turnover of merchandise, greater choice and cheaper commodity prizes. Its function as an accelerator of economic change happened alongside the emergence of urban business districts, shopping and new roles for consumers. As such, the department store pioneered the modern consumer culture. Berlin’s department stores held, from the German Empire until the end of the 1930s, a symbolic role in terms of debates that were concerned with the advantages and disadvantages of consumerism. This debate was shaped by the German Kulturkritik, which tended to be right-wing, extremist and anti-Semitic. Kulturkritik was eventually sidelined by scientific research and the diminished influence of both nationalism and right-wing- extremism after the collapse of National Socialist Germany in 1945. The decline of Kulturkritik paved the way for a new understanding of modernity and consumerism as integrative elements in a modern society. This development is part of the fundamental transformation of the Federal Republic of Germany shortly after the Second World War.1 Das Warenhaus war die erste moderne Betriebsform des Einzelhandels.1 Es führ- te eine Vielzahl von Innovationen ein, die untrennbar mit der Ausbildung der Konsumgesellschaft verbunden waren. Daher provozierte es vom Deutschen Kaiserreich bis in die frühe Bundesrepublik hinein eine komplexe Debatte, die unter anderem Veränderungen des volkswirtschaftlichen Gesamtgefüges, städte- bauliche und...
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