AbstractsEducation Research & Administration


by Hans-Henning Bunge

Institution: Kent State University
Year: 2015
Keywords: History; Bildungsbuergertum; Bildung; Kaiserreich; cultural ideology of Bildung; German culture; German education; Gymnasium; Realschulen; German secondary education; German diaries; Der Anfang a German schoolpaper; Gymnasium teacher
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2117890
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=kent1437738095


BUNGE, HANS-HENNING, Ph.D., July 2015 HISTORYGERMANY'S CULTURAL IDEOLOGY OF BILDUNG1870-1945 (197 PP.)Dissertation Advisor: Richard Steigmann-Gall Germany’s cultural ideology of Bildung, the continuous intellectual advancement and self-refinement, was, in the Middle Ages, associated with being God-like. This concept was reaffirmed in the Renaissance by the rediscovery of the Hellenic culture with its passion for intellectual exploration. In Imperial Germany the Bildungsburgertum, which dominated and formed the nation’s cultural scene, embraced striving for Bildung and consider it not only fundamental to Germany’s cultural ideology, but also a progression of mankind. Around the fin de siecle the nation’s socioeconomic changes provided a less fertile ground for the pursuit of this self-oriented culture of Bildung; in addition school reforms caused Germany’s social structure to reconfigure and thereby undermined the Bildungsburgertum’s influence on the nations cultural-ideology. Present literature addresses the declining role of Bildung, but the transition this cultural ideology underwent as the result of Germany’s drastic socio-economic changes and the importance it retained have not been investigated and will be addressed in this dissertation. I will explore the impact these drastic social reconfigurations had on redefining the culture of Bildung from the perspectives of three different groups: Gymnasium teachers, who were responsible for perpetuating the nations cultural ideology, their students and the Gymnasium educated Burgertum. To get an impression of Gymnasium teachers’ changing perception of the cultural ideology of Bildung from 1877 to1918, I analyzed the treatises they presented to the assembled student body at the beginning of each school year. To assess students’ continuing acceptance of these ideals Gymnasia taught, I reviewed articles they wrote for their school paper, which address this topic. In addition, for the purpose of examining the continuing importance of Bildung in the lives of the reconfigured Burgertum, I reviewed their diaries, which portray events from 1870 to 1945. These reviews show that Germany’s major social, economic and political changes from Imperial Germany to the end of World War II diminished the importance of Bildung as the focal point in the life of the Burgertum, and relegated it increasingly to more of a pastime activity. However, the Burgertum continued to identify with this cultural ideology as is evident by the comfort they gained in the trenches of World War I by their rereading of Kant and Homer. In the post-war years instead of consulting literature, diarist report finding solace during adversities by exploring works of art and listing to classical music. Even though intellectual pursuits remained an integral albeit diminished part of the cultural ideology of Bildung, this spiritual aspect displayed more permanence. Concluding the small elite group of the Bildungsburgertum had passed the fundamentals of the nation’s cultural ideology of Bildung on to a broader spectrum… Advisors/Committee Members: Steigmann-Gall, Richard (Advisor).