Cultures of Physical and Political Work in 19th-Century Germany

  • Jürgen Schmidt
Keywords: working class culture, history of work, labour movement, Germany, 19 th century, civil society, August Bebel


This article focuses on the history of working class culture and workers’ culture. It includes new approaches in the field of labour history such as civil societal approaches, the history of emotions and discourses as new aspects of the history of work in a global perspective, with its discussions about the boundaries between work and non- work as well as free and unfree labour. In the first part, the article looks at the work place where a spatial setting created a culture of (physical) work with special rhythms and time regimes and a set of symbols and representations. In a further step, this paper will raise the question what kind of work political work was. By doing so, this article also gives insights into the distinction between manual and non-manual work and enables perspectives on and cooperation with anthropological research.