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Publications [#356334] of James G. Chappel

Journal Articles

  1. CHAPPEL, J, Nuclear Families in a Nuclear Age: Theorising the Family in 1950s West Germany, Contemporary European History, vol. 26 no. 1 (February, 2017), pp. 85-109, Cambridge University Press (CUP) [doi]
    (last updated on 2022/12/07)

    This essay explores the imagination of the family in 1950s West Germany, where the family emerged at the heart of political, economic and moral reconstruction. To uncover the intellectual origins of familialism, the essay presents trans-war intellectual biographies of Franz-Josef W├╝rmeling, Germany's first family minister, and Helmut Schelsky, the most prominent family sociologist of the period. Their stories demonstrate that the new centrality of the family was not a retreat from ideology, as is often argued, but was in fact a reinstatement of interwar ideologies in a new key: social Catholicism in the former case, National Socialism in the latter. These divergent trajectories explain why W├╝rmeling and Schelsky, despite being two central defenders of the family in the 1950s, could not work together. The essay follows their careers into the 1960s, suggesting that the fractious state of familialism in the 1950s helps us to understand its collapse in the face of the sexual revolution.

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