All Power to the Imagination! The West German Counterculture from the Student Movement to the Greens


"All Power to the Imagination!" is a history of the West German counterculture and its immensely influential role in the nation's cultural and political life. Sabine von Dirke opens with an examination of nascent countercultural movements in West Germany during the 1950s. She then moves to a nuanced account of the student movement of the 1960s, describing its adaptation of the theories of Marcuse, Adorno, and Benjamin, then recounting its attack on "bourgeois" notions of the autonomy of art and culture. She next examines the subsequent development of a radical aesthetic and the effects of left-wing terrorism on Germany's political climate. Later chapters focus on die tageszeitung, the ecology movement, and the rise of the Green Party. Von Dirke concludes by asking whether the evolution that this book traces - from Marxist-influenced critiques of culture and society to more diverse, less doctrinaire left-wing positions - represents progress or a betrayal of radical ideals.

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