Production and Consumption in Divided Germany
This chapter analyzes food’s role in the dramatic economic growth of both socialist East Germany and capitalist West Germany during the 1950s and 1960s. It explores food’s impact on industrial productivity by looking at the changing role of canteens in German society, highlighting the role played by industrial canteens in the shaping of class relations. It also looks at the relationship between food and the consumer economy by exploring efforts to optimize grocery shopping. This comparative analysis shows that the profoundly gendered activity of shopping for food has shaped women’s economic roles in socialism as well as capitalism. Exploring grocery markets and canteens as gendered and classed sites reveal that food is central to the growth of both socialist and capitalist economies, while at the same time arguing that individual food consumption and production always prove impossible to adequately optimize.
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