Emotions in Capitalism. Emotions and Motivations of German Business Elites in the 19th and 20th Centuries

How and why are emotions that either putatively promote or impede the successful existence in a capitalistic economy culturally communicated? Which historical experiences supply and which personal, socio-economic and political expectations modify these emotions? And above all: Are there any specific capitalistic emotions at all that underlie the capitalistic economy, strengthen its global implementation, but – at the same time – trigger its vulnerability for crises and criticism? The project aims at historicizing the emotional mainsprings of capitalism. Assuming a historically varying relationship between entrepreneurs and companies selected heads of family enterprises will be contrasted with selected managers and investors and analyzed concerning their understanding of and relationship to capitalism. On the one hand the project is based on the perspective of economic elites, their self- descriptions and the investigation of their emotional driving forces and on the other hand it integrates descriptions, i.e. social, political and scientific discourses about "the" capitalist and "the" capitalism. The work concentrates on the development of capitalism of German provenance from the late 19th up to the second part of the 20th century. Thereby central crisis of capitalism – especially those of 1873 and 1929 – as well as their processing and associated questions for continuities and breaks move into the focus of the study. In the area of conflict of its revaluation and devaluation those emotions should be worked out which again and again motivated capitalism animating to new ventures and risk propensity. At the same time effects of this capitalistic "management of emotions" on the leeway of modern societies are to be scrutinized.