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Exhibiting the everyday : the musealization of 1950s material culture in France and Germany

Bostock, Stephanie (2015) Exhibiting the everyday : the musealization of 1950s material culture in France and Germany. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

Over the course of the last decade, the 1950s have been transformed from little more than a historical interregnum between the Second World War and the 1960s into a powerful trope in the popular imagination. Nowhere has this shift been more significant than in France and Germany, where processes of forgetting connected to post-war nation-building and mythification are giving way to more complex reappraisals of the 1950s. The French and German museum landscapes, in particular, have seen the emergence of a large number of museums and exhibitions devoted to the period since the turn of the new millennium. Concerned with the quotidian realities of day-to-day life and the grassroots experiences of ‘normal’ people, these sites are part of a proliferation of 1950s-related remembering enacted through the lens of the everyday. Using a variety of sources, ranging from personal interpretation of exhibitions and collections to museum catalogues and press reports, this thesis examines the multifarious nature of museum representation and remembering associated with the 1950s in France and Germany. By focusing on nine different sites, it assesses the different spatio-temporal frameworks and strategies used to narrate the 1950s, and determines how ‘counter-memories’ and more hegemonic memories and histories of the period are being constructed across different regional and national contexts. Despite the significance of national myths and memorial tendencies, it finds that the 1950s are being reimagined through a plurality of local, regional, national and transnational narratives, and that ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ approaches are giving way to more nuanced ways of reframing the post-war period. These findings highlight the increasing democratization of history and memory and the diverse ways in which ‘counter-memory’ and ‘genealogy’ are employed to reclaim the 1950s past. As such, the 1950s are being reworked from a simple decadal period into a semantically richer ‘time-space’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of Modern Languages
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2015 09:05
Last Modified: 17 May 2016 15:44
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/4736
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