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Striking a discordant note: protest song and working-class political culture in Germany, 1844-1933

Striking a discordant note: protest song and working-class political culture in Germany, 1844-1933
Striking a discordant note: protest song and working-class political culture in Germany, 1844-1933
This thesis examines the role played by protest song in the development of the political culture of Germany’s industrial working class between 1844 and 1933. Protest song was an integral component in the struggle of the German working class to achieve some measure of political and social equality in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Throughout this period, the working class found itself subjected to varying levels of political repression by the German authorities, and in order to promote their political views, industrial workers used the medium of song to protest against injustice.

The thesis seeks to determine the significance of protest song for the political development of the German industrial working class through an analysis of song lyrics. The study of working-class protest song lyrics has largely been the preserve of historians from the former German Democratic Republic, where scholarship was shaped by the unique political imperatives of history writing under the Communist regime. This thesis seeks to redress the historiographical imbalance that this approach engendered, arguing that protest song produced under the auspices of the Social Democrats was both a culturally valid and politically significant feature of German working-class political life, albeit one that offered a different ideological approach to that of the overtly revolutionary output of the Communist movement.

Additionally this thesis will acknowledge that working-class song was not merely used as an instrument of protest, but also as a medium to communicate political ideology. Protest song was an integral part of the cultural capital of the working class milieu, creating a distinct canon upon which German industrial workers drew in a variety of political, social and cultural situations. This study will engage with this canon in order to establish how the cultural practice of singing endowed working-class protest songs with an intrinsic political significance.
Rose, Mark
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Rose, Mark
ce077dc9-d94d-4cd9-8d65-d56e5d0a1bc6
Gregor, Neil
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(2010) Striking a discordant note: protest song and working-class political culture in Germany, 1844-1933. University of Southampton, School of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 275pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis examines the role played by protest song in the development of the political culture of Germany’s industrial working class between 1844 and 1933. Protest song was an integral component in the struggle of the German working class to achieve some measure of political and social equality in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Throughout this period, the working class found itself subjected to varying levels of political repression by the German authorities, and in order to promote their political views, industrial workers used the medium of song to protest against injustice.

The thesis seeks to determine the significance of protest song for the political development of the German industrial working class through an analysis of song lyrics. The study of working-class protest song lyrics has largely been the preserve of historians from the former German Democratic Republic, where scholarship was shaped by the unique political imperatives of history writing under the Communist regime. This thesis seeks to redress the historiographical imbalance that this approach engendered, arguing that protest song produced under the auspices of the Social Democrats was both a culturally valid and politically significant feature of German working-class political life, albeit one that offered a different ideological approach to that of the overtly revolutionary output of the Communist movement.

Additionally this thesis will acknowledge that working-class song was not merely used as an instrument of protest, but also as a medium to communicate political ideology. Protest song was an integral part of the cultural capital of the working class milieu, creating a distinct canon upon which German industrial workers drew in a variety of political, social and cultural situations. This study will engage with this canon in order to establish how the cultural practice of singing endowed working-class protest songs with an intrinsic political significance.

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Published date: September 2010
Organisations: University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities

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Local EPrints ID: 367356
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367356
PURE UUID: 2dd2b698-fca4-4114-98ba-63ea83f22edc

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Date deposited: 23 Oct 2014 12:08
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 02:00

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Contributors

Author: Mark Rose
Thesis advisor: Neil Gregor

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