Journal Article

Time Consuming: Women's Radio and the Reconstruction of National Narratives in Western Germany 1945-1948

Alexander Badenoch

in German History

Published on behalf of German History Society

Volume 25, issue 1, pages 46-71
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266355407071989
Time Consuming: Women's Radio and the Reconstruction of National Narratives in Western Germany 1945-1948

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The question of the proper place of women in German society was one of the most pressing issues of the time immediately after the Second World War. The sheer numerical disproportion of women to men in Germany, combined with the expanded public roles many women had adopted during wartime, meant that there was hardly a debate about postwar German society that was not in some way touched by this question. The expanded role and visibility of women in the immediate postwar era coincided with the unprecedented dominance of the radio, which had emerged from the war as the best preserved means of mass communication, information and cheap entertainment. This article shows the important role played by the radio, and in particular women's programmes, in helping to shape the role and visions of women in the developing West German society. Based on an analysis of the way women's programmes addressed the activity of women in society, it is argued that in the years of scarcity before the 1948 currency reform, women's time gained unprecedented value as a consumer ‘commodity’. In particular, the efforts of women's programmes to structure and discipline women's use of time contributed significantly to the discourse of women as consumer citizens that developed dominance in the social market economy of the Federal Republic. The image of the female time consumer was combined in women's programmes with essential notions of femininity to create new narratives of German national identity. Within the broader context of the debate on the role of women in society, radio programming of the immediate postwar years helped to embed certain discourses on femininity, consumption and Germanness that later developed in 1950s society.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: European History

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