On the move. Spatial mobility in the Federal Republic of Germany 1980 – 2010

Numerous diagnoses of the times interpret the last decades as a mobile age of historic singularity. The thesis questions this and examines forms and dynamics of geographic mobility in the Federal Republic of Germany between 1980 and 2010. The book breaks new ground by focusing on spatial mass phenomena such as commuting and internal migration. These phenomena have been neglected for decades in historical research. The study deals specifically with the dimensions of East-West mobility and the role of commuting in the process of an increasing income inequality. Moreover it looks at the interplay between unemployment and the need for mobility as well as at the tense relationship of occupational mobility and the intention of starting a family. The author places his issues in the historically wider context of the past 100 years and thus elaborates structural similarities and continuities beyond the changing technological and social structures. In the transitional phase “after the Boom” the German society turns out to be relatively sedentary and only limited mobile when looked at from the perspective of an already mobile society in the imperial age. The study revises common explanations for a generally increased mobility which have attracted public attention through dramatic media coverage. Methodically enriched with statistical analyses and a cartographical approach this historical work is to be understood as a sophisticated and innovative contribution in the field of digital history.