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The Pleasure of a Surplus Income: Part-Time Work, Gender Politics, and Social Change in West Germany, 1955-1969

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Volume 6

Studies in German History

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The Pleasure of a Surplus Income

Part-Time Work, Gender Politics, and Social Change in West Germany, 1955-1969

Christine von Oertzen
Translated from the German by Pamela Selwyn

250 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-179-0 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (April 2007)

View CartYour country: - edit  Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


"... the level of detail of this fine-grained analysis is clearly the book’s strength... Offering new insights into the dynamics of gender relations, employment and social change, its implications extend beyond the German context. Especially the methodological approach, combining the analysis of official documents, discourses and motivations with labour market statistics, case studies and qualitative interview material is convincing and inspirational."  ·  Sociology

“Von Oertzen's study is essential reading for any scholar interested in postwar women's history. Her work is a model for historians using social history to investigate continuity and change in gender roles, both at the political and popular level. The wide range of archival sources at the basis of her arguments makes them convincing…her work provides scholars, teachers, and students a fascinating glimpse into the grassroots, daily reality in which feminism was actualized for women in the postwar world.”  ·  H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online

"...a fascinating account... drawing on a dizzying range of sources from the archives of local labor offices and a number of firms ... a fine book."   ·  Central European History

"Christine von Oertzen’s study sets high standards for future social-historical examination of female labor."  ·  Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte

"[This] excellent monograph... ends with an impressive comparative overview of part-time work in the FRG and the GDR."  ·  The American Historical Review


Published in Association with the German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.

At a time when part-time jobs are ubiquitous, it is easy to forget that they are a relatively new phenomenon. This book explores the reasons behind the introduction of this specific form of work in West Germany and shows how it took root, in both norm and law, in factories, government authorities, and offices as well as within families and the lives of individual women. The author covers the period from the early 1950s, a time of optimism during the first postwar economic upswing, to 1969, the culmination of the legislative institutionalization of part-time work.

Christine von Oertzen is a Research scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Before joining the MPI in June 2005, she was a Fellow at the German Historical Institute, Washington, DC

Subject: History (General)History: 20th Century to PresentGender Studies and Sexuality
Area: Germany


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