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German Cities and Bourgeois Modernism, 1890-1924$
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Maiken Umbach

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557394

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557394.001.0001

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Liberal Governmentality and the Spatial Politics of ‘Bürgerlichkeit’

Liberal Governmentality and the Spatial Politics of ‘Bürgerlichkeit’

(p.168) 6 Liberal Governmentality and the Spatial Politics of ‘Bürgerlichkeit’
German Cities and Bourgeois Modernism, 1890-1924

Maiken Umbach (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the discourse of ‘Bürgerlichkeit’ in German reformist circles, arguing that it designated not a class identity, but the political ambition to invent a modern bourgeois identity, which was defined through individual self‐cultivation (Bildung) on the one hand, and rigorous self‐control and discipline on the other. The chapter traces how this bourgeois habitus emerged out of German Enlightenment culture, and became a prerequisite for the transformation of direct rule into ‘liberal’ or indirect government. This process is exemplified through a close reading of Muthesius's music chamber as a training ground for bourgeois sensibilities and sensory control. The chapter then traces how in modern German cities at large, a new visual openness was constantly kept in check by the invention of new psychic ordering mechanisms, which became more pronounced and openly authoritarian during the Weimar years.

Keywords:   bourgeois habitus, Bürgerlichkeit, Bildung sensory discipline, character, liberal governmentality, Enlightenment, Foucault, music chamber, visibility, Muthesius

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