Utopia and Dissent in West Germany: The Resurgence of the Politics of Everyday Life in the Long 1960s, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Utopia and Dissent in West Germany

The Resurgence of the Politics of Everyday Life in the Long 1960s, 1st Edition

By Mia Lee


200 pages

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pub: 2019-01-08
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Just as Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was seeking re-election on a campaign of "no experiments," art avant-garde groups in West Germany were reviving the utopian impulse to unite art and society. Utopia and Dissent in West Germany examines these groups and their legacy. Postwar artists built international as well as intergenerational networks such as Fluxus, which was active in Düsseldorf, Wiesbaden, and Cologne, and the Situationist International based in Paris. These groups were committed to undoing the compartmentalization of everyday life and the isolation of the artist in society.

And as artists recast politics to address culture and everyday life, they helped forge a path for the West German extraparliamentary left. Utopia and Dissent in West Germany traces these connections and presents a chronological map of the networks that fed into the extraparliamentary left as well as a geographical map of increasing radicalism as the locus of action shifted to West Berlin. These two maps show that in West Germany artists and their interventions in the structures of everyday life were a key starting point for challenging the postwar order.

Table of Contents



Part I: Reconstructing Art’s Autonomy and Social Function in Postwar Germany

Chapter One: A Zero Hour for the Arts

Chapter Two: The Return of the Avant-Garde

Chapter Three: The Rhineland and Beyond

Part II: The Primacy of Political Action

Chapter Four: West Germany on Trial

Chapter Five: In Search of the Radical Subject

Chapter Six: Liberation, Violence, and the Politicization of the Past




About the Author

Mia Lee is Assistant Professor of History at the National University of Singapore.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Modern European History

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General