In this book one of Europe's foremost sociologists offers a profound and accessible overview of the trajectory of European societies, East and West, since the end of World War II. Combining theoretical depth with factual analysis, Göran Therborn addresses the questions that underpin an understanding of the nature of European modernity, including: To what extent is the period 1945-2000 producing fundamental change and what are the areas of continuity? Have the societies of Europe become more similar to others on the globe or more distinctively European? What are the prospects of Europe after decades of postwar change and the end of the Cold War? Issues covered include the division of paid and unpaid labour,

Means: ‘The Glorious Years’

Means: ‘The glorious years’

The most eloquent economic history of postwar Europe has been written by a Frenchman, unsurprisingly. The title is untranslatable, but the opening message is understandable enough. It contrasts two villages. One was underdeveloped, overwhelmingly agrarian (80% of the population) had a life expectancy of 62 years, houses that were largely without indoor toilets and central heating, and in which buying a kilo of butter cost seven hours of work. The other was highly developed, predominantly into services, having recruited two-thirds of its inhabitants from outside, giving a life expectancy at birth of 75 years, with most houses having indoor plumbing and a car, half of them central heating, and in which a kilo of butter required one hour ...

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