As a German postgraduate student living permanently in Scotland since 2008, I have been recently awarded an MSc by Research in Economic and Social History from the University of Edinburgh. My dissertation The Value of Labour in Question – Discussing Economic Crisis in Glasgow’s Unstamped Press, 1816-1835 aims to capture the emergence of early socialist discourse in the local, popular and political press of Glasgow, arguing that it developed in conjunction with, rather than in opposition to, other powerful contemporary discourses such as popular radicalism and political economy.
The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) has funded my research degree as well as an earlier research visit to Scotland for my undergraduate dissertation The reception of Max Weber’s ‘Protestant Ethic’ Thesis in Great Britain, 1967 until 2007 – The Case of Scotland, in 2007. By the time I graduated from the University of Leipzig in the subjects Cultural Sciences, Theatre Studies and Psychology in 2008, I was positively hooked on Glasgow’s exciting cultural scene, the warmth of its people and the beauty of the Scottish west coast, so that it was not long before I booked my return ticket.
Drawing on the knowledge attained in both of my degrees I currently aim to create a piece of work that combines a strong social theoretical framework with extensive archival research. The moral discourse on early cinema as a modern cultural institution and early film as a distinctively modern medium of entertainment and propaganda is of particular interest to me. My objective is to place the moral panics surrounding early cinema in Scotland between 1910 and 1926 into the context of broader discourses, especially contemporary German social theory, that emphasised the physical, moral and social dangers that cinema and film represented at the time. To accomplish this task and to highlight characteristics of the Scottish context, I will venture into the archives of Scotland’s main cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee – in order to analyse a range of sources, from local newspapers, corporation and council minutes, minutes of educational, religious and reform bodies to trade periodicals as well as in Scotland produced and exhibited propaganda films. With the help of digital software tools such as GIS (Geographical Information Systems) I seek to visualise the results of my investigation for public consumption on this website.