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  3. German Studies Dozenten | DAAD Kanada

Early statistical studies on patterns of consumption and leisure were done in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. In Western European countries it was only in the s, as the leisure phenomenon began to enjoy greater public awareness, that similar studies were conducted. Leisure education and leisure sociology developed as sub-disciplines. This has led to correspondingly diverse theoretical assumptions and objectives.

Not only the growing importance of leisure influenced the development of leisure oriented science; changing societal priorities influenced both, leisure and science. As a result of leisure's economic importance, for example, the issue of environmentally sustainable leisure became significant for leisure activities as well as for research on leisure in the century's final decades. Traditional forms of leisure-time activities have included dancing, various kinds of celebrations, visiting fairs and taverns, attending opera and the theatre, as well as reading, painting and playing music.

Beginning in the 18th century, Grand Tours educational excursions that were at first reserved for the nobility and attending salons became common, as did visits to museums at the turn of the 19th century. With the growth of cities during industrialisation, not only cities turned into tourist attractions, but also ostensibly untouched natural areas as alternative realities to human-engineered urban environments.

While the first world exhibition in in London 's Crystal Palace featured different technical advances, entertainment became a focal point in subsequent decades.

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An amusement park ride — the first Ferris wheel — was the symbol of the Chicago Fair. All these fairground businesses were adorned by progressively brighter electric lighting. Compared to the passive forms of recreation represented by radio and television, however, the Internet requires at least some degree of active involvement.

Starting in the s, rising wages and a growing number of vacation days led to a substantial expansion of tourist travel.

Book Reviews

Both the distance to destinations and the overall number of tourists grew considerably. If leisure time in the s was characterised by a desire for rest and recreation due to the long periods of work, its devotion to the purpose of consumption would become the norm in the following decades. Cars, televisions and clothing developed into status symbols. For many people this led to the accumulation of a growing number of leisure-time accessories, from games, books and cameras to music and video equipment as well as sporting paraphernalia.

Owing to an initial saturation of the demand for such merchandise in the s, advertising now linked shopping to tourism — signalling the start of a redefinition of leisure. The goal of having a special kind of experience had now become paramount. Emerging counter trends became increasingly important as well, including such recent health-oriented leisure-time activities as ayurveda and wellness.

A typical trait of all above-mentioned activities is that even though their contents are subject to processes of modernisation, few actually became "extinct". New, different and often technology-oriented approaches are instead introduced to the activities, supplementing older ones which may indeed lose their appeal. At least since industrialisation, technology and leisure have become intertwined in several respects: Railways, the bicycle, the automobile and the airplane — they drastically changed people's mobility.

German Studies Dozenten | DAAD Kanada

These developments also influenced leisure-time travel, making new destinations accessible. As a result, coastal locations were now as accessible as attractive regions closer to home. Sporting events and industrial fairs were also target destinations for special trains.

Adding to the excursion traffic of regular trains, these special trains already carried several million passengers by Construction of the Austrian Southern Railway Vienna — Trieste in made it easier for Vienna's residents to indulge in their interest in alpine hiking or summer recreation, giving the tourist industry in the Rax and Schneeberg region a substantial boost. For a region that had been used to some extent by agriculture, but had remained in other parts largely untouched by men, the pursuit of leisure-time activities in the area caused dramatic changes.

The establishment of charter services, promising shorter travel times and lower costs, triggered a rush of tourists to the Mediterranean shores that had been developed or disfigured since the s to accommodate a massive influx of visitors. The growth of leisure-time travel had an impact on individual leisure-time activities and consumer demand. Technology made new kinds of events possible such as film screenings and also brought larger audiences to more traditional events.

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In the s, when concerts could first be supported by sound systems, it also became possible to have performances on large open-air stages or in sports arenas. As radio and, later, television broadcasts hit the air waves, the size of the potential audience expanded even further. More recently, performances have been enhanced by multi-media presentations on large screens. Musical experiences changed along with the development of new media.

Some directors saw the artistic potential of incorporating sound's new acoustic possibilities into their productions such as by using music at different moments to augment certain scenes. Most technological developments in the area of leisure have been the result of attempts to simplify technologies previously used outside of the realm of mass consumption. The camera is one pertinent example. The roaming photographers who started visiting fairs in the s of course contributed a great deal to the popularisation of photography, 52 laying a foundation for the camera's recreational use.

Photography, however, was so complicated and expensive that it was virtually limited to professional photographers until George Eastman — introduced celluloid-based roll film in the s. He was able to combine low-cost and light weight in a film-loaded camera that needed, however, to be returned to his laboratories for developing. With his invention, the entrepreneur established the groundwork for the spread of photography as a hobby of the masses. Especially with regard to fairs and sporting events high-tech developments have played — and still play— an important role.

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Such developments include sophisticated technologies specifically used for leisure-time activities — like the roller coaster — or advances in no-longer commercially viable technologies such as those used since the midth century in sailing or rowing boats. Finally, technologies have also been developed during testing and implementation phases, as occurred, for example, with the automobile and the airplane before the First World War.

The public response to early aviation contests was remarkable. Although still in its "experimental stage" in , the fledgling sport attracted , visitors at the Berliner Flugwoche Berlin air show. While the concern here was with the further evolution of a new technology, rowing, another propulsion technology that was centuries-old and had slowly been made superfluous by roads and steamships, was only developed further for competitive and recreational sports.

Boats that were intended for transporting passengers and cargo were utilised for the first rowing regattas. Already in the 19th century, the boat's construction was transformed for sports activities and rowing boats became the fastest muscle-powered vessels on water. While those boats were made from wood, key developments of the vessel's construction in the 20th century were based on the introduction of new materials like glass-fibre and carbon-fibre reinforced plastics.

The extent to which the rowing boat's construction possibilities were modified and refined for the sake of sport and leisure is indicated in an overstated account from in the German sports newspaper Deutsche Turnerzeitung :. The building process was becoming more scientific and construction firms specialising in structural analysis and the dynamics of amusement rides emerged.

Rides became faster, movement and acceleration more varied. The basis for these advances was the use of high tech, both in design and construction. Even linear motors, whose drive concept was originally developed for maglev trains, have been used since the s. Technology that is suitable as a model for toys needs to have an "excitement factor" — or at least a certain level of familiarity — and be accessible and intuitive at the same time.

It should engage the user on an emotional level, for a sense of wonder about technology inspires interest in playing with its replica. Furthermore, simulated technology used for play probably facilitates the technology's acceptance, as the playful interaction directs the user's attention back to the original. Such simulations can further promote important technological skills and know-how.

Because steam engines had largely disappeared by , and therefore had also lost their attractiveness as toys, the company Wilesco from Leverkusen fashioned a steam engine model that was combined with a replica of a nuclear power plant. Technology has always been playfully adapted for leisure-time activities. For example, turntablism — the use of record players as an instrument to achieve unusual sound effects — started in the s and continues to evolve to this day. This use of a record player, which is foreign to the technology itself, is now so widespread that the devices have acquired an entirely new function that is put on display at regular DJ competitions.

A few examples may serve as illustrations. In the s, Berlin youth discovered S-Bahn metro surfing as a favourite pastime.

Involving opening and leaning out of a train's doors or walking along its exterior, this extremely dangerous activity was made possible by the fact that older trains' doors could be opened during the ride, which permitted access to an overhang between the wagon wall and the floor. There was also an overhead luggage rack for grabbing onto. The activity tested the individual's mettle in a way that combined the taste of freedom with a sense of danger.

A much lower level of risk is involved in attempts to modify computer games by reprogramming them. The more or less subversive software conversions, or mods , are intended to either secure players some not always game-compliant advantages through their programming skills or to offer new ways of playing that depart from those intended by the manufacturer. Mods thus reflect creative uses of computer games whose programming and technology are supposed to be predetermined by the manufacturer.

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English Arabic. Important Links. Follow Us. App Download. US UK. Thank you for subscribing! Please check your email to confirm your subscription. Our Stores. Apply Filter Remove Filter Categories. Kindle Store Kindle Short Reads 45 minutes pages. One wonders today how the Germans of the late nineteenth century would have pronounced the word: the use of an accent in many written sources suggests a French pronunciation and would thus point to the French origins of modern decadence as a cultural phenomenon; the substitution of a z for the ce at the end, and the spelling with a k rather than c in the middle Dekadenz , on the other hand, would indicate a certain domestication of the term and its pronunciation.

The term, it seems, could be employed in a way that simply denoted physical decline, the lack of energy and the desire to be left alone that may come with old age. However, through the very use of a word that had only recently been introduced into the German lexicon, Fontane somehow engages with the connotations that the use of the term "decadence" started to evoke at that very time. The latter part of Fontane's productive period overlapped with the era generally associated with cultural decadence in German-speaking central Europe; and several of his works have been studied as discourses on decadence, most notably L'Adultera , Schach von Wuthenow , and Der Stechlin.

His example, however, highlights three dimensions of the debate on decadence in German-speaking central Europe: a that the use of the term "decadence" as an analytical concept and a label for a certain period in cultural history has become inflationary and has thus, probably, lost some of its force; b that the contemporary use of the term, ironic or otherwise, must have been quite widespread, as there must have been in the period under discussion, the last decade of the nineteenth century, some shared perception that their own time was one of stagnation or even decline, or whatever else the word was seen as denoting; c that since it is so firmly associated with French cultural influences, "decadence" could never be used entirely neutrally in the German discourse: in Fontane's letter the irony conveys an implicit polemicism.

Fontane's incidental use of the term highlights some of the difficulties in dealing with the subject matter in the German context. A contested, polemical, imprecise concept has been adapted as an analytical tool in scholarly discourse: we still describe as decadent those texts labelled as such by contemporary proponents of this movement, and their enemies. Until today the term still awaits a precise definition.

Since the culture and discourse of German decadence have not received widespread attention in the English-speaking world, 4 it might be appropriate to highlight some of the more interesting positions from recent German cultural and literary historiography before illustrating how the term and concept were used