7238 -- EIDSON, JOHN R.

"Immer wieder am Rhein" - Club life and the politics of recognition in a contemporary German community
Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 131.2006:27-50
Keywords: club life, fieldwork, ethnography, voluntary associations, modernization theory, modernity, Weber, M., Lowie, R., structure and dynamics, dynamics and structure, identity

##Since the mid-twenticth century, our understanding of voluntary associations in Germany has been restricted by a combination of modernization theory and structural-functionalism that has encouraged an artificial distinction between the emancipatory function of these institutions in the transition from tradition to modernity and their stabilizing function once modernity has been achieved. Drawing on early twentieth century theorists such as Max Weber and especially Robert Lowie, the author seeks to reintegrate these two only apparently distinct functions, thus reintroducing a dynamic aspect into the analysis of contemporary voluntary associations. With reference to ethnographic materials collected in a small town on the Rhine, he rehabilitates aspects of club life that are often dismissed as "regressive" and "dysfunctional" (e. g., in the critique of Vereinsmeierei) and demonstrates the appropriateness of a genuinely ethnological approach to enduring aspects of the politics of difference, identity, and recognition in contemporary German society.##