Historical Social Research

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Konrad H. Jarausch, Frequenz und Struktur. Zur Sozialgeschichte der Studenten im Kaiserreich [1980] [Abstract]

To foreign observers, the high international reputation of German universities around the turn of the 20th century contrasted sharply with their authoritarian structure and corporate student subculture. This chapter analyzes the Prussian educational statistics, arguing that the 4.5 fold expansion of the student body was fed by an expansion of the secondary system, the inclusion of women and the attraction of foreign students. This made the diversifying philosophical faculty the leading sector, while theology declined whereas law and medicine continued to trade places. Moreover, academic self-recruitment also decreased, while students from the propertied Bürgertum gained and the new lower middle class began to assert itself. With increasing numbers of Catholics and Jews, as well as graduates of modern secondary schools, the student body began to reflect more closely the social diversity of Germany. The essay concludes that a good deal of the ideological conflict between liberal and illiberal academics was a consequence of this expansion and diversification of social structures.