After theorizing and situating nostalgia in the academic discourses surrounding deindustrialization, this article will address the deindustrialization process and the accompanying heritagization of the Ruhr before investigating the different meanings and layers of nostalgia that are attached to industrial heritage discourse in the region. It will discuss why certain representations of the industrial past do not appear under the spotlight of the Ruhr’s heritage industry and will conclude by using the case study of the Ruhr Museum to illustrate what appears today as a/the dominant and widely uncontested heritage discourse in the Ruhr.
Industrial Heritage and the Ambiguities of Nostalgia for an Industrial Past in the Ruhr Valley, Germany
STEFAN BERGER is professor of social history and director of the Institute for Social Movements at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany. He is also executive chair of the History of the Ruhr Foundation and an honorary professor at Cardiff University in the UK. He has published widely on the history of historiography, historical theory, memory studies, the history of social movements, and the history of deindustrialization, including industrial heritage, as well as on the history of British-German relations. Among his most recent publications are a special issue of the journal Public Historian titled “Deindustrialization, Heritage, and Representations of Identity,” edited with Christian Wicke and Jana Golombek (2017), and an edited collection titled Industrial Heritage and Regional Identities, edited with Christian Wicke and Jana Golombek (2018).
Stefan Berger; Industrial Heritage and the Ambiguities of Nostalgia for an Industrial Past in the Ruhr Valley, Germany. Labor 1 March 2019; 16 (1): 37–64. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-7269314
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