“For us, BÜHNE is everything that has an audience” – the popular, mass cultural claim of the Viennese magazine “Die Bühne” in the 1920s


08 Sep 2023, 09:30 – 08 Sep 2023, 13:00


ELTE BTK (Eötvös Loránd Universität), Múzeum krt. 6-8, ground floor, H-1088 Budapest

Vortrag von Marie-Noëlle Yazdanpanah bei der Konferenz “Metaphors of Masses, Crowds, Swarms, and Multitudes in Central and Eastern Europe, 1920’s/2020’s”.

Particularly in the early years, Die Bühne (The Stage) claimed to address “everyone” and to cover everything that aroused interest – in other words, to be a “stage” for the widest possible readership. Accordingly, this magazine offered a mix of topics, a juxtaposition of high and popular/mass culture. In addition to (current) theatre, it focused on popular culture and consumer practices – film, revue, popular sports, new body images – and overall propagated a modern leisure and consumer culture.

My paper explores how the slogan formulated in the first issue manifested itself in thematic setting, content, and design: I examine how mass/popular culture was conceived and presented in Die Bühne. To what extent is I programme characterized by a consistently popular cultural and modernistic take in comparison to other magazines in Austria? I also look at the intended audience: What does “everyone” mean and what notion of “mass” becomes discernible? When is the “Masse Mensch” (man of the mass/crowd) used positively, e.g., in the sense of an active, idiosyncratic audience; when does it signify the opposite of expertise? And to what extent can the perspective of Die Bühne be located in the political-societal context of the mid- to late 1920s, a time of temporary democratic awakening in Austria?