By Andreas Killen
Berlin Electropolis ties the German discourse on anxiety within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries to Berlin's transformation right into a capital of the second one commercial revolution. targeting 3 key groups--railway body of workers, infantrymen, and phone operators--Andreas Killen lines the emergence within the Eighteen Eighties after which later decline of the idea that modernity triggered anxious affliction. in this interval, Killen explains, Berlin grew to become arguably the main complex city in Europe. a number of adjustments, many linked to breakthroughs in applied sciences of transportation, communique, and relaxation, mixed to appreciably regulate the form and pace of way of life in Berlin. The ensuing cognizance of sped up social swap and the shocks and afflictions that observed it discovered their consummate expression within the discourse approximately anxiousness. splendidly researched and obviously written, this publication bargains a wealth of latest insights into the character of the trendy city, the mental aftermath of global conflict I, and the operations of the German welfare nation. Killen additionally explores cultural attitudes towards electrical energy, the evolution of psychiatric concept and perform, and the prestige of ladies employees in Germany's swiftly industrializing economic climate. finally, he argues that the backlash opposed to the welfare country that happened throughout the overdue Weimar Republic caused the ultimate decoupling of modernity and frightened sickness.
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Additional resources for Berlin Electropolis: Shock, Nerves, and German Modernity (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism)
127 These examples point toward a more general pattern. For these ﬁgures, the neurasthenia diagnosis tended to be reserved for members of their own social class and sex, while degeneration and hysteria were used for diagnosing social others. Yet this pattern was by no means a ﬁxed one. Though less visibly burdened by the gender and class associations of hysteria, neurasthenia remained an unstable construct that could become confused with that stigmatized condition. An invisible, functional disease of the nerves, neurasthenia remained difficult to represent; despite a host of ingenious methods for bringing it into the clear light of medicine’s gaze, it insistently deﬁed medical criteria of legibility, visibility, and objectivity.
43 They also imparted a particular character to its inhabitants. This was apparent in the rapid growth of a sector associated with the increasing concentration of industry and population in the capital: the so-called new white-collar class drawn from the managerial strata, service personnel, and municipal and state bureaucracies. By the early 1900s a small army of these salaried masses inhabited Berlin. “The ﬁrst industrial city of the world,” as the guidebook for the Trade Exhibition had called Berlin, stood at the threshold of a shift that would dramatically change its physiognomy.
In the early 1900s, an issue of a German trade journal for telephone operators reviewed an article of Thomas Edison’s on care of the body that appeared in the New Yorker World. Edison’s article described the body as a “dynamo-machine” and suggested that, like any machine, the human dynamo needed adequate nourishment and rest. ”77 It was in the work of Gustav Theodor Fechner that the implications of the new psychology were followed through most systematically. 80 Scientists distanced themselves from earlier schools of psychology by making use of experimental methods and subtle methods of stimulation and measurement.