A Nation of Provincials: The German Idea of Heimat

TitleA Nation of Provincials: The German Idea of Heimat
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1990
AuthorsApplegate, Celia
Number of Pages273
PublisherUniversity of California Press
CityBerkeley
Abstract

At the center of this book is the German word 'Heimat'—the homeland, the local place. Translations barely penetrate the meaning of the word, which has provided the emotional and ideological common ground for a variety of associations and individuals devoted to the cause of local preservation. Celia Applegate examines at both the national and regional levels the cultural meaning of Heimat and why it may be pivotal to the troubled and very timely question of German identity. The ideas and activities clustered around Heimat shed new light particularly on problems of modernization. Instead of viewing the Germans as a dangerously anti-modern people, Applegate argues that they used the cultivation of Heimat to ground an abstract nationalism in their attachment to familiar places and to reconcile the modern industrial and urban world with the rural landscapes and customs they admired. Primarily a characteristic of the middle classes, love of Heimat constituted an alternative vision of German unity to the familiar aggressive, militaristic one. The Heimat vision of Germany emphasized cultural diversity and defined German identity by its internal members rather than its external enemies. Applegate asks that we re-examine the continuities of German history from the perspective of the local places that made up Germany, rather than from that of prominent intellectuals or national policymakers. 

URLhttps://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft300004wq&brand=ucpress
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760345636

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