date

Geoffrey-Howard-Eley-Cover

seminar

Geoff Eley “World War II, Hobsbawm’s ‘Golden Age,’ and Working-Class Formations of the Present”

The working class of any particular country was formed from long histories of capitalist economic development and allied societal transformation. Those histories settled over time into the lasting patterns of shared inequality and collective affiliation known to the 20th century as the working class. The latter rested in turn on a reciprocal back and forth between continuing social changes and their complicated discursive rendition: on the one hand, the harnessing of labor power, the distribution of inequalities, and the massing of workers in industry and towns; on the other hand, the social discipline and governing practices of states and other public authorities, along with all the surrounding commentary, common sense, and formal ideas. Any particular working class was shaped inside a complex field of force that joined process to action. During the first two decades of the 20th Century, clear regularities across workplace and labor markets, neighborhood-based residential concentrations of working people, collective organization (unions, clubs, associations, parties), local government structures, state intervention and wider governmentality -- all solidified into a distinctive working-class societal and political presence. However, that presence was immediately assaulted by two massive disruptions -- first the Great Depression, then the Second World War.-- before those earlier logics of working-class coalescence were provisionally resumed. Despite glaring continental unevenness [from continuous Soviet turmoil to exceptional Scandinavian stability], there ensured a two-decades-long period of working-class stability and relative prosperity, before renewed capitalist restructuring, class recomposition, and drastic deindustrialization disorganized working-class lives once again. This talk explores the varying and specific forms of politics associated with these distinct periods of working-class formation.

bio

Geoffrey Howard Eley (born 4 May 1949) is a British-born historian of Germany. He studied history at Balliol College, Oxford, and received his PhD from the University of Sussex in 1974. He has taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the Department of History since 1979 and the Department of German Studies since 1997. He now serves as the Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History at Michigan.
Eley’s early work focused on the radical nationalism in Imperial Germany and fascism, but has since grown to include theoretical and methodological reflections on historiography and the history of the political left in Europe.
Eley is particularly well known for his early study, The Peculiarities of German History (first published in German as Mythen deutscher Geschichtsschreibung in 1984), co-authored with David Blackbourn (a fellow Briton, who now teaches at Vanderbilt University), which challenged the orthodoxy in German social history known as the Sonderweg thesis. His most successful book is Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000, which has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian, Korean, Turkish and Greek. Recently, he published a collection of essays on fascism called Nazism as Fascism: Violence, Ideology, and the Ground of Consent in Germany, 1930-1945 with Routledge Press.

date

bio

Geoffrey Howard Eley (born 4 May 1949) is a British-born historian of Germany. He studied history at Balliol College, Oxford, and received his PhD from the University of Sussex in 1974. He has taught at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the Department of History since 1979 and the Department of German Studies since 1997. He now serves as the Karl Pohrt Distinguished University Professor of Contemporary History at Michigan.
Eley’s early work focused on the radical nationalism in Imperial Germany and fascism, but has since grown to include theoretical and methodological reflections on historiography and the history of the political left in Europe.
Eley is particularly well known for his early study, The Peculiarities of German History (first published in German as Mythen deutscher Geschichtsschreibung in 1984), co-authored with David Blackbourn (a fellow Briton, who now teaches at Vanderbilt University), which challenged the orthodoxy in German social history known as the Sonderweg thesis. His most successful book is Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000, which has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian, Korean, Turkish and Greek. Recently, he published a collection of essays on fascism called Nazism as Fascism: Violence, Ideology, and the Ground of Consent in Germany, 1930-1945 with Routledge Press.

Geoffrey-Howard-Eley-Cover

seminar

Geoff Eley “World War II, Hobsbawm’s ‘Golden Age,’ and Working-Class Formations of the Present”

The working class of any particular country was formed from long histories of capitalist economic development and allied societal transformation. Those histories settled over time into the lasting patterns of shared inequality and collective affiliation known to the 20th century as the working class. The latter rested in turn on a reciprocal back and forth between continuing social changes and their complicated discursive rendition: on the one hand, the harnessing of labor power, the distribution of inequalities, and the massing of workers in industry and towns; on the other hand, the social discipline and governing practices of states and other public authorities, along with all the surrounding commentary, common sense, and formal ideas. Any particular working class was shaped inside a complex field of force that joined process to action. During the first two decades of the 20th Century, clear regularities across workplace and labor markets, neighborhood-based residential concentrations of working people, collective organization (unions, clubs, associations, parties), local government structures, state intervention and wider governmentality -- all solidified into a distinctive working-class societal and political presence. However, that presence was immediately assaulted by two massive disruptions -- first the Great Depression, then the Second World War.-- before those earlier logics of working-class coalescence were provisionally resumed. Despite glaring continental unevenness [from continuous Soviet turmoil to exceptional Scandinavian stability], there ensured a two-decades-long period of working-class stability and relative prosperity, before renewed capitalist restructuring, class recomposition, and drastic deindustrialization disorganized working-class lives once again. This talk explores the varying and specific forms of politics associated with these distinct periods of working-class formation.

Previous
Next
REGISTER FORM

There is no more available spaces for this seminar.