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Small Town and Village in Bavaria
The Passing of a Way of Life
Peter H. Merkl
280 pages, 35 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-0-85745-347-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2012)
eISBN 978-0-85745-348-8 eBook
“Merkl analyzes in exemplary fashion the conditions, developments, and results of state-imposed modernizations in Central Europe and helps to understand these better.” · German Studies Review
At the center of this investigation is the great modernization effort of a West German state, Bavaria, in the 1970s and 1980s, by means of a reform of the smaller units of local government. The reforms were meant to abolish all autonomous local governments serving populations of fewer than 3,000, thereby reducing the number of local governments in Bavaria from more than 7,000 to less than 2,000. Based on interviews, surveys, and statistical research, this study chronicles fifteen communities and their challenges, developments, and social changes from post-1945 up to the present. While this book explores the decline of the iconic village community, it also reveals the survival of medieval towns in a contemporary world, and despite the modern desire for comprehensive and well-integrated services, there remains a seemingly perennial appeal of small town and village life.
Peter H. Merkl is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has published extensively on comparative and German government and politics, in particular the origin of the West German Republic and German unification. He also edited a series of volumes on German politics.