Boom during the Crisis. Consumerism, Tourism, Motoring in West Germany and the United Kingdom (1970–1990)
Completed associated PhD project
The 1970s are regarded as a decade of crisis. During this time, however, consumer opportunities for the general public increased significantly. By reference to the behaviour of consumers in West Germany and the United Kingdom, the project queried the central attributions of the 1970s as a decade of crisis and the 1980s as a decade of individualisation. It reached the conclusion that the 1970s constituted in many respects a boom period when it came to the consumer behaviour of the public. Especially less well-off sections of the population could now take part in consumer society to a much greater extent.
With regard to an individualisation resulting from an increase in consumer opportunities, the study reaches ambivalent conclusions. The available consumer goods admittedly multiplied considerably. This still took place, however, in the context of standardised mass-produced products. There were also socioeconomic limits to this individualisation via consumerism. Alongside an investigation into the general behaviour of consumers, the analysis also examined holidays and car usage. The study takes into account a decidedly broad section of the population and pursues an approach from the view of social and cultural history, which rests on a broad source base from multiple perspectives. In addition to statistical and social scientific materials, sources from businesses and state archives were also consulted for the study. Considerable space was also devoted to ego documents and advertisements.
PhD defence: 18. November 2015
Sina Fabian: Boom in der Krise. Konsum, Tourismus, Autofahren in Westdeutschland und Großbritannien 1970-1990, Göttingen 2016.