The Salaried Masses: Duty And Distraction In Weimar Germany
Publish Date: 1998-09-17
Author: Siegfried Kracauer
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First published in 1930, Siegfried Kracauers 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 entertainmentor the distraction industries, as Kracauer put itbut, 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.