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Spirit and System: Media, Intellectuals, and the Dialectic in Modern German Culture
by Dominic Boyer
University of Chicago Press, 2005
Cloth: 978-0-226-06890-9 | Paper: 978-0-226-06891-6
Library of Congress Classification DD76.B679 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 943

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
Combining ethnography, history, and social theory, Dominic Boyer's Spirit and System exposes how the shifting fortunes and social perceptions of German intellectuals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries influenced Germans' conceptions of modernity and national culture.

Boyer analyzes the creation and mediation of the social knowledge of "German-ness" from nineteenth-century university culture and its philosophies of history, to the media systems and redemptive public cultures of the Third Reich and the German Democratic Republic, to the present-day experiences of former East German journalists seeking to explain life in post-unification Germany. Throughout this study, Boyer reveals how dialectical knowledge of "German-ness"—that is, knowledge that emphasizes a cultural tension between an inner "spirit" and an external "system" of social life —is modeled unconsciously upon intellectuals' self-knowledge as it tracks their fluctuation between alienation and utopianism in their interpretations of nation and modernity.


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