German Politics and Society
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German Politics and Society

Editor: Jeffrey J. Anderson, Georgetown University


Volume 34 / 2016, 4 issues per volume (spring, summer, autumn, winter)

Subjects: German Studies, Politics, Sociology, History, Economics, Cultural Studies


A joint publication of the BMW Center for German and European Studies (of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). These centers are represented by their directors on the journal's Editorial Committee.

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The Resilience of the Nation Sate:Cosmopolitanism, Holocaust Memory and German Identity

Stephen Welch and Ruth Wittlinger

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to offer a critique of the proposal of “methodological cosmopolitanism“ in theoretical terms and to substantiate this critique by providing an account of the dynamics of collective memory and identity in postunification Germany. In the first part, we look at the arguments about methodological cosmopolitanism and their derivative, the idea of cosmopolitan memory, illustrated by the case of Holocaust memory. In the second part we look at the case of Germany: firstly at its postwar experience of the attempted construction of “postnational“ identity, and then at more recent trends, contemporaneous with the Berlin Republic, towards a “normalization“ of national identity in Germany. The Holocaust plays a crucial, but different, role in each phase, we suggest. In the conclusion we return to more general themes, asking what the German case tells us about the cosmopolitanization thesis more generally.

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