Christiane Schwab

Economic Change as Cultural Change?

The Economy for the Common Good as a Possible Enabler of a Culture of Mutual Connectedness


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During the first half of the nineteenth century, the rise of market-oriented periodical publishing correlated with an increasing desire to inspect the modernizing societies. The journalistic pursuit of examining the social world is in a unique way reflected in countless periodical contributions that, especially from the 1830s onwards, depicted social types and behaviours, new professions and technologies, institutions, and cultural routines. By analysing how these “sociographic sketches” proceeded to document and to interpret the manifold manifestations of the social world, this article discusses the interrelationships between epistemic and political shifts, new forms of medialization and the systematization of social research. It thereby focuses on three main areas: the creative appropriation of narratives and motifs of moralistic essayism, the uses of description and contextualization as modes of knowledge, and the adaptation of empirical methods and a scientific terminology. To consider nineteenth-century sociographic journalism as a format between entertainment, art, and science provokes us to narrate intermedial, transnational and interdisciplinary tales of the history of social knowledge production.

history of anthropological and social thought, nineteenth century, journalism, periodical literature, Europe

Schwab C. (2021). Zwischen Naturgeschichte, Statistik und Gesellschaftsroman: Soziographische Wissensordnungen im Kontext einer europäischen Publizistik im 19. Jahrhundert. Zeitschrift für Volkskunde, 117(2), 141-162.