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The Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany

The Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany

By Siegfried Kracauer
Translated by Quintin Hoare

First published in 1930, Siegfried Kracauer’s work was greeted with great acclaim and soon attained the status of a classic. The object of his inquiry was the new class of salaried employees who populated the cities of Weimar Germany.

Spiritually homeless, divorced from all custom and tradition, these white-collar workers sought refuge in entertainment—or the “distraction industries,” as Kracauer put it—but, only three years later, were to flee into the arms of Adolf Hitler. Eschewing the instruments of traditional sociological scholarship, but without collapsing into mere journalistic reportage, Kracauer explores the contradictions of this caste. Drawing on conversations, newspapers, adverts and personal correspondence, he charts the bland horror of the everyday. In the process he succeeds in writing not just a prescient account of the declining days of the Weimar Republic, but also a path-breaking exercise in the sociology of culture which has sharp relevance for today.

Paperback
130 pages
5.4 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
Verso, 1998
ISBN 9781859841877

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