Summary Of Poiger's Response To The Americanization Of German Youth Culture

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Uta Poiger looks at the response of West and East German journalists, politicians, sociologists, and psychologists to the Americanization of German youth culture in the 1950s. Focusing on Hollywood movies, jazz, and rock 'n' roll, Poiger discusses the class, gender, national, ethnic and racial anxieties that American cultural imports evoked and interweaves a documented discourse analysis with accounts and actions of youth at movie premiers and Elvis performances. Poiger shows that with news of each new influx of American music, movie and up to date fashion there came a counter-wave of adult panic about their effects on the morality, sexuality, and national identity of Germans. The news media feared that the “torrid sensuality of American films and the openly erotic gyrations of jitterbug and other dances would corrupt innocent German girls”. They also worried that “Westerns, gangster movies, and films such as The Wild One undermined efforts to reconstruct, especially, proletarian masculinity as less aggressive, more self-controlled than under the Nazis”. …show more content…
She explains, “a younger generation of West German music-lovers had become jazz aficionados who made much of the "respectability" of jazz and promoted it into the canon of modern high culture”. Poiger argues, that the German response to Americanization changed over time “but were always intertwined with the project of re-defining Germanness in both the Federal Republic (FRG) and Democratic Republic (GDR)”. She incorporates several arguments into this work and recognizes that despite their intense antagonism to each other, “Stalinist East Germans and conservative West Germans reacted similarly to American