German Pop Culture: How American Is It? by Agnes C. Mueller

By Agnes C. Mueller

German Pop Culture sheds new mild at the "Americanization" of German tradition in the course of the latter a part of the 20 th century, with designated emphasis on post-Unification literature, track, and picture. the United States and its iconography were instrumental in defining German political and aesthetic tradition, in particular due to the fact that global battle II, and such a lot lately within the aftermath of September eleven.

Surrounding this undeniable phenomena, questions of the function and position of a "popular" German tradition proceed to set off heated debate. Embraced by means of a few as a welcome ability to wreck out of the German monocultural way of thinking, American-shaped "pop" tradition is rejected via others as "polluting" demonstrated values, leveling worthy differentiation, and finally being pushed through a capitalist client society instead of by way of ethical or aesthetic standards.

This collaborative quantity addresses a few exciting questions: What do Germans envisage once they communicate of the "Americanization" in their literature and tune? How do artists reply to modern-day media tradition? What does this suggest for the present political size of German-American kin? Can one converse meaningfully of an "Americanized" German tradition? In addressing those and different questions, this paintings fills a niche in latest scholarship through investigating German pop culture from a multidisciplinary, foreign perspective.

Contributors to this volume:
Winfried Fluck, Gerd Gemünden, Lutz Koepnick, Barbara Kosta, Sara Lennox, Thomas Meinecke, Uta Poiger, Matthias Politycki, Thomas Saunders, Eckhard Schumacher, Marc Silberman, Frank Trommler, Sabine von Dirke

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5. 29. A study of the in›uence of American culture in the 1960s is provided by Gerd Gemünden, Framed Visions: Popular Culture, Americanization, and the Contemporary German and Austrian Imagination (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998), but Gemünden focuses on responses to American culture in Germanspeaking literature and ‹lm, that is, on cultural production and not on consumption. 30. The other often discussed period is the 1920s, but, as Nolan points out in her essay “America in the German Imagination,” Americanization, although a matter of concern, was not yet a social reality: “But the American model of modernity—prosperous, functional, materialistic, and bereft of tradition, domestic comfort, and Kultur—did not become the German reality in the 1920s.

Most obvious is the emergence of a new media order in Europe, which is supposed to promote integration and cohesion, while Japanese, British, Australian, and German companies have taken over parts of the American publication and media industries. One can argue that the transformations of the nature of both the broadcast media and the public sphere that occurred in the 1990s have been even more fundamental to culture than those of the 1980s. As long as the cold war endorsed the political and moral weight of culture visà-vis the military and political stalemate, the traditional association with the status of high culture provided public interest and representational functions even for the most commercial ventures in ‹lm, television, and other visual media.

18. The German ‹lm industry, which was clinically dead in the 1970s (the period, interestingly, of the greatest international success of German auteur ‹lmmakers such as Wenders, Herzog, and Fassbinder), recovered somewhat in the 1990s and has established a steady output, but its market share remains regrettably low. 19. In his study of American cultural policies after World War II, Volker Berghahn provides a useful reminder that this aversion against American popular culture was a widespread attitude not just of European elites but also of elites in the United States, to whom the worldwide identi‹cation of American culture with American popular culture was (and often still is) a source of embarrassment: “In the eyes of many European intellectuals on the right and the left, but also among the educated middle classes, the United States did not really have a culture at all.

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