Andreas Killen

in Berlin Electropolis

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780520243620
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931633 | DOI:

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This introductory chapter first sets out the purpose of the book, which is to study the dialogue between the German state and its citizens about the “hidden costs” of the modernization process, a dialogue conducted in the specialized new idiom of “nerves.” Charting the emergence and decline in German society of a new conception of the nervous self between 1870 and 1930, it sets these developments against the backdrop of the rapidly modernizing German capital, which during this period became arguably the most advanced metropolis in Europe. The discussion then turns to how late nineteenth-century Germans came to analyze themselves and the shocks and afflictions of industrial society in terms of this idiom of “nerves”, and the history of nervousness. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords: German state; German society; modernization process; nerves; nervousness; industrial society

Chapter.  5558 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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