Accepted Paper:

Manufacturing loss: evasion and nostalgia in a German industrial town  

Author:

Peter Phillimore (Newcastle University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper, based on recent fieldwork in Ludwigshafen, explores the paradoxical ways in which industrial skills, management styles and practices, pollution of air and water, public services, demography and immigration all get interwoven in a narration of change, loss, hope and unease, involving nostalgia and evasion.

Paper long abstract:

In a town dominated for over a century by a single industry and a single corporation, popular reflection in the German chemical centre of Ludwigshafen has tended to stress long-run continuities, typified in families where generation after generation has worked in the same firm and place. Yet concealed by such cyclical imagery of enduring stability is also a less noticed rumination on the balance sheet of profound social and economic change, in which loss and a sense of the missing is a pervasive motif. This paper, based on recent fieldwork in Ludwigshafen, explores the paradoxical ways in which industrial skills, management styles and practices, pollution of air and water, public services, demography and immigration all get interwoven in a narration of change, loss, hope and unease, involving a degree of nostalgia as well as considerable evasion.

Panel W082
It's gone - an anthropology of loss