The Bakers of Bemburg and the Logics of Communism and Capitalism

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Abstract

Drawing on a study of small-and large-scale bakeries in the pre-and post-communist periods in a small city in eastern Germany, we analyze the ambiguous roles hegemonies—communism before 1990 and capitalism after the unification of the two Germanies—have played in the lives of artisans. We propose a model of hegemony that emphasizes the role of agents other than "organic intellectuals." We conclude that, in order to survive, a hegemony may adapt to competing ideologies and interests by attempting to incorporate aspects of previous traditions that manifest themselves in daily behavior even when these are antithetical to the basic tenets of the hegemony and may ultimately contribute to its demise, [hegemony, economic change, artisans, small-scale enterprises, eastern Germany]

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