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Summary 2003(2)


Americanism and Americanization in Twentieth-century Germany: some notes on recent works (Lorenzo Riberi)

Americanization (especially after World War Two) has been one of the main issues of European cultural, political and economic history for quite a few years. Lately, however, scholars appear to be correcting the image of a hegemonic relationship into that of a two-way intercultural transfer. This stands true also for Germany. This article, on the basis of the many works on the subject published in Germany and the U.S. in the decade after the German reunification, highlights some of the major issues of the recent debates: from the growing attention paid to the social roots of German discourse and images of America, either negative or positive; to the deeper analysis of the link between America and modernity and of its different articulations (in the years of the Empire, of the Weimar Republic, even of the Third Reich); to the increased awareness for the complex processes which took place at many levels in the Federal Republic, and which, not unlike other European countries, can only be fully understood in terms of selective appropriation and negotiation. To most researchers the concept of Americanization can be at best a useful heuristic device, while as an analytical tool it is considered too vague and/or swayed by emotional or political biases. "Westernization" might seem a viable alternative, but it, too, needs further, more accurate definition.

Sito internet dell’Associazione a cura di Salvatore Botta

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