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Volume 14

Berghahn Monographs in French Studies



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At Home in Postwar France

Modern Mass Housing and the Right to Comfort

Nicole C. Rudolph

272 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-587-5 $95.00/£67.00 Hb Published (March 2015)

eISBN 978-1-78238-588-2 eBook


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Reviews

“All in all a book well worth reading; it examines and presents with great sensitivity and insight a French modernizing project that has been alien to the German as well as Anglo-Saxon public.” · H-Soz-Kult

“[This book] interweaves an impressive range of subjects that factored into the housing question. Rudolph ably assesses the motives and goals of each of the individuals and organizations involved, and deftly traces areas of continuity and change between prewar and postwar housing-related questions… [It] compellingly establishes that the concept of a modern, comfortable home was integral to the efforts of state and society to create a more democratized and modernized France in the postwar era.” · American Historical Review

“Rudolph’s monograph [is an] important addition to the fields of modern France and the history of urbanism. It is especially noteworthy for its contributions to the burgeoning field of post-1945 studies, to research on the social sciences, and to discussions about membership in the nation.” · Contemporary French Civilization

“The vast amount of information, the coherence of the narrative, the elegance of the writing, the soundness of [Rudolph’s] judgments, and the significance of her story to our understanding of France’s ‘trentes glorieuses’ suggest that this will be a book that will make a difference to people’s thinking about the era.” · Steven Zdatny, University of Vermont

“Through a unique lens—a focus on home interiors—[the author] underscores the centrality of housing for a nation recovering from depression and war. In sum, the making of the modern home was an essential part of the making of modern France.” · W. Brian Newsome, Elizabethtown College

Description

After World War II, France embarked on a project of modernization, which included the development of the modern mass home. At Home in Postwar France examines key groups of actors — state officials, architects, sociologists and tastemakers — arguing that modernizers looked to the home as a site for social engineering and nation-building; designers and advocates of the modern home contributed to the democratization of French society; and the French home of the Trente Glorieuses, as it was built and inhabited, was a hybrid product of architects’, planners’, and residents’ understandings of modernity. This volume identifies the “right to comfort” as an invention of the postwar period and suggests that the modern mass home played a vital role in shaping new expectations for well-being and happiness.

Nicole C. Rudolph teaches French Studies at Adelphi University in New York, where she directs the major in International Studies and the minor in European Studies. She also serves as Special Features Editor for French Politics, Culture & Society.

Subject: Postwar History Urban Studies
Area: France



Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables
Acknowledgements
List of Abbreviations

Introduction

Part I: Modern Homes for a Modern Nation

Chapter 1. Building Homes, Building a Nation: State Experiments in Modern Living, 1945-1952
Chapter 2. Designing for the Classless Society: Modernist Architects and the “Art of Living”
Chapter 3. The Salon des Arts Ménagers: Teaching Women How to Make the Modern Home

Part II: Mass Homes for a Changing Society

Chapter 4. Housing for the Greatest Number: The Housing Crisis and the Cellule d’Habitation, 1953-1958
Chapter 5. “Who is the Author of a Dwelling?” From User to Inhabitant, 1959-1961
Chapter 6. Beyond the Functionalist Cell to the Urban Fabric, 1966-1973

Conclusion

Bibliography
Index

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