Leora Auslander wrote, in “National Taste? Citizenship Law, State Form, and Everyday Aesthetics in Modern France and Germany, 1920 – 1940,” how the concept of European national citizenship developed in the years between the world wars. She theorizes that the concept of citizenship is inextricably linked to the cultural understanding an individual’s everyday life, and that this link is traceable through the evidence of not political but anthropologic sources. Specifically she examines how the French and German citizens developed from regional to national citizens focusing on cultural norms and uniformity. She further divides the research into two group, the Jews and Gentiles, who lived on either side of the Rhine River.

She finds that citizenship is a concept already well developed by the twentieth century. Looking back to the French Revolution and German Unification, the idea of the larger national identity is a growing force of the centralized state. Her conclusion, drawn on detailed evidence and sound logic, discovers that the cultural similarities between the French population’s Jewish are strikingly consistent. That, juxtaposed to the German population of a similarly diverse Jewish and non Jewish body, are comparably also unified, but distinctly separate from that of the French nation.

Overall, the article seeks out a meaningful comparison through abstract means of developing an individual citizen. It deeply resonates with “The Lost Children” accounts of nationalism. The product of the French national education discussed in Zahar’s work is culminated in the uniformity of French society viewed in Auslander’s article. Therefore, in a sense singing “La Marseillaise” as a child in the French educational system had an affect proven by the homogeny of the French interwar population in comparison to the Germans or other states.

2 thoughts on “

  1. I feel like there is something missing, but I can’t put my finger on it.. Perhaps talk about the Gentiles a little bit more? Just a small thing I would look at. I think that you got her main point though. Solid Post.

  2. This is a well done post with a lot of good information. It really helps clarify points made by both authors.

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