The material culture of the German nuclear industry II: Picture postcards and QSL cards

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In modern marketing, visual imagery forms a powerful component that is used to attract the attention and imagination of potential visitors. In the tourism industry there is a perpetual cycle of reinforcement, where picture postcards and other imagery — today travel brochures, in the past through textual descriptions or paintings/etchings — provide a representation of key attractions which already have or are in the process of attaining icon status. These representations induce tourists to visit these sites and then reinforce the icon status by replicating the messages by purchasing picture postcards, by taking their own photos, and through textual descriptions in travelogues (Corkery & Bailey, 1994; Jenkins,2003; Larsen, 2006; Markwick, 2001). In the age of social media, the production, dissemination and consumption of images occurs via blogs, Facebook posts and Instagram messages. Before the arrival of social media, the imagery chosen by postcard publishers for production was characterised by ideological messaging (Spennemann, 2006) with the sender of the card exerting some editorial control through the selection of cards for purchase and use (Corkery & Bailey, 1994). It is of little surprise, therefore, that during the 1970s and 1980s one of the most common and widespread promotional paraphernalia of nuclear power plant operators were colour picture postcards.
This study forms part of a project that examines the tangible and social cultural heritage of the German nuclear power industry (Spennemann, 2015a, 2016, 2021a, 2021b, subm.). This document compiles postcards and QSL messaging cards featuring nuclear power plants and research facilities published by the operators themselves, as well as those distributed by commercial publishing houses. Where possible, both sides of the card have been reproduced here, in reduced form, solely for thepurpose of academic critique and study. Unless stated otherwise, the illustrated examples of these cards are in the possession of the author.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAlbury, NSW
PublisherInstitute of Land Water and Society
Number of pages83
ISBN (Print)9781864673982
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Publication series

NameILWS Report


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