"Veteran care"

Shifting provision, needs, and meanings of enterprise-centered pensioner care in eastern Germany

in Focaal
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  • 1 Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology thelen@eth.mpg.de
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This article examines the ways in which different actors in eastern Germany incorporate socialist veteran care into the new economic and organizational framework of the trade union, the housing cooperative, and the reformed state enterprise itself. The complexities of the different meanings of this care are linked to the rapid socioeconomic changes in eastern Germany, which have challenged both expectations of the future as well as personal identities. The analysis describes the complex shifts in the source of provision and its regulation, which go beyond simple state/nonstate or formal/informal dichotomies. With unification social security practices have lost their previous material significance for former employees, but simultaneously have gained emotional value because they help to assure biographical continuity. These processes (re)create familiarity and community amid the profound economic restructuring after socialism.

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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