Deutschland einig Vaterland?

East-West Cleavages in Germany Thirty Years After Reunification

in German Politics and Society
Christian Schweiger Chemnitz University of Technology

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Thirty years on from the peaceful revolution in the former communist German Democratic Republic (gdr) Germany remains profoundly divided between the perspectives of Germans living in the eastern and the western parts of the country, which is becoming ever more obvious by the polarization of domestic politics. Hence, Germany today resembles a nation which is formally unified but deeply divided internally in cultural and political terms. This article examines the background to the growing cleavages between eastern and western regions, which have their roots in the mistakes that were made as part of the management of the domestic aspects of German reunification. From a historic-institutionalist perspective the merger of the pathways of the two German states has not taken place. Instead, unified Germany is characterized by the dominance of the institutional pathway of the former West German Federal Republic, which has substantially contributed to the self-perception of East Germans as dislocated, second-class citizens.

Contributor Notes

Christian Schweiger is Visiting Professor at the Chair for Comparative European Governance Systems in the Institute for Political Science at Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany. Previously he was Associate Professor in Government in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University in the United Kingdom. His research concentrates on comparative politics in the eu, particularly the political economy of the Single Market. His most recent publications include the monograph Exploring the eu's Legitimacy Crisis: The Dark Heart of Europe (Cheltenham, 2016), the jointly edited collection with Anna Visvizi, Central and Eastern Europe in the eu: Challenges and Perspectives Under Crisis Conditions (Abingdon, 2018) and the articles “Germany's Role in the eu-27 Leadership Constellation after Brexit,” German Politics and Society 36, no. 2 (2018): 100-117 and “The Global and Financial Crisis and the Euro Crisis as Contentious Issues in German-American Relations,” German Politics 27, no 2 (2018): 214-229.

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