Hamburg Low-Budget

Between Cooperative and Informal Economising/
Consumption Formats

Lisa Kosok & Sandra Schürmann

The research project will examine low budget consumption actor networks in Hamburg in the last third of the 20th century from a historical perspective. The collection of the Museum for Hamburg History will serve as its basis and will be developed conceptually.

The thematic starting point is formed by consumer cooperatives in Hamburg aimed at serving the interests of the community, which have played an important role and are well researched historically and first emerged in the city at the end of the 19th  century from economising practices. These specific urban socio-material networks can be described as formalised and informal communities with the goal of securing consumption under the primacy of economising. They were explicitly seen as an alternative model to the protestant-mercantile habitus of Hamburg’s functional elite, and in their time were publicly recognised both in Hamburg and beyond. The long term cultural development of such formations in Hamburg will now be researched for the first time in the context of the late 20th century employing the actor network theory.

Apart from existing museum collections, it is flea markets, second hand shops, swap meets – in as far as they can be reconstructed – which will provide initial concrete point of contact for the research. During the search for evidence, oral history interviews, picture and media records, locally circulated magazines, classified adverts, catalogues etc. will continue to be used. A special feature of this sub-project is its localisation at the Museum for Hamburg History, and thus at an institution committed to the material representation of urban habitats.