Antimodernism, a popular movement growing out of fear and hostility toward an emerging new world, became a central ideological trend in late nineteenth-century Europe. Shulamit Volkov explains its development in Germany by providing a biography of one group—the urban master artisans—whose political attitudes came to be dominated by antimodernist feelings.
As small, independently employed practitioners of traditional crafts, the master artisans possessed a special social identity. The author focuses on their character as a group, their public behavior, and the formation of their ideas and political allegiance. She contends that between 1873 and 1898—a period often called the "Great Depression"—this group underwent a crucial change in attitude reflecting a growing sense of social isolation and political homelessness. To understand the complexities of their outlook, Shulamit Volkov considers changes in their economic and social position during industrialization and the Great Depression, comparing the German experience with that of England. Her analysis of economic, social, cultural, and political history uncovers the forces that led to the emergence of popular antimodernism and helped attract part of the German populace to prefascist ideas.
Originally published in 1978.
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