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Of “Old” and “New” Housewives: Everyday Housework and the Limits of Household Rationalization in the Urban Working-Class Milieu of the Weimar Republic

Hagemann, Karen

The paper centers on the question of how widespread was the impact of the lively discussion of housing and household reform during the Weimar Republic. Therefore the focus is on the experiences of working-class women. Against the background of material conditions in proletarian households, it analyzes which norms and standards concretely shaped working women's everyday housework in the urban working-class milieu in the 1920s, and how these norms and standards arose. The paper demonstrates the substantial reservations and resistance with which even better-off working women approached all efforts at rationalizing their housework in the 1920s. They wanted better living conditions and new household appliances, but the vast majority could not afford both. The specific norms and standards against which a “good” housewife was measured, norms and standards which corresponded more to the “old” model of the “economical, clean and tidy” housewife, also blocked acceptance, however.
Published in: International Review of Social History, 10.1017/S0020859000114038, Cambridge University Press
  • Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
  • This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.