Public Policies and the Young Worker in Imperial Germany

Elizabeth Harvey

in Youth and the Welfare State in Weimar Germany

Published in print September 1993 | ISBN: 9780198204145
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676123 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Public Policies and the Young Worker in Imperial Germany

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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In Germany and other industrialized countries, in the 20th century adolescence came to be seen as a phase in life between childhood and adulthood. It was perceived with distinctive biological, psychological, and social characteristics. Both socio-economic and ideological factors were adduced to explain the emergence of adolescence as a concept. In Wilhelmine Germany, the discovery of adolescence acquired particular significance as young people themselves added their own self-definitions and ideas to the emerging cult of youth. A growing concern with adolescence in general among the German middle classes provides part of the explanation of the discovery of the working-class adolescent. Other factors such as the age-structure of the population and the size of the youthful workforce may have played a role.

Keywords: adolescence; adulthood; self-definitions; working-class; middle class; Wilhelmine Germany

Chapter.  13065 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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