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The Consuming TempleJews, Department Stores, and the Consumer Revolution in Germany, 1880-1940$
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Paul Lerner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452864

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452864.001.0001

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(p.212) Conclusion
The Consuming Temple

Paul Lerner

Cornell University Press

This concluding chapter summarizes key themes and presents some final thoughts. This book analyzed the German department store from a distinct perspective and then linked that perspective to a particular set of images of the Jew or a specific theme in Jewish history. Debates about the rising power and prominence of the department store often invoked the anti-Semitic notion of the Jew as a parasite, as an “economic vampire,” indeed a hostile, external force feeding off the German body politic. The book also sheds light on another German peculiarity, namely the astonishing persistence of supernatural themes in treatments of the department store across a wide variety of media and sources. Only in the postwar years, as West Germany rose from the rubble to experience an unprecedented period of peace and economic growth, did the opposition to consumer culture weaken and eventually fade away, save for a few academic departments and tenacious outposts of radicalism.

Keywords:   Germany, department stores, Jews, Jewish history, consumerism, consumer culture

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