About us

The "PolitCIGs" research network will analyze the material, social and political cultures of Germany and Austria in the 20th and 21st Centuries by using the cigarette as an example.

Our guiding questions are: To what extent were political cultures obviously or indirectly supported when individuals, social groups, milieus, generations or societies communicated about and via cigarettes? What kinds of politics were hidden in the cigarette, its tobaccos and blends, packages, and in its advertising? Our contention is that cigarettes can convey political content directly or indirectly verify political messages in their product communication.

Above all, our research relies on the substantial collection of the Museum der Arbeit (Museum of Work) in Hamburg. The Museum contains the archives of advertising, products and photography of Reemtsma Cigarettenfabriken - a Hamburg-based concern that not only controlled up to eighty percent of German cigarette producers and brands from 1929 to 1945, but also regained an important role in the postwar period. These archives offer a unique abundance of sources for the history of product communication. Materials range from posters and enamel signs, advertisements, packages and window displays to figurines, cinema and TV-spots, as well as drafts and final drawings or trading cards.

Inspired by these substantial collections and by contributions from its interdisciplinary team, "PolitCIGs" will link methodological and theoretical approaches of history, cultural studies, communication sciences, and psychology in an innovative way. Additionally, university research will be closely linked with museum-based public history.