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Erik Gawel, Sebastian Strunz, and Paul Lehmann

The German energy transition repeatedly faces harsh critiques questioning its economic and environmental merits. This article defends the energy transition and argues that Germany has chosen an economically efficient and particularly forceful approach to securing a sustainable energy supply. Though current expenditures are high, the long-term benefits of transforming the energy system to a renewables-based system are likely to outweigh present investment costs. Furthermore, support policies for renewables are not redundant-as some critics claim-but instead complement other policy instruments, such as the emissions trading scheme. This article also addresses the motives behind the discrediting attacks on the German energy policy regime. Defensive actions by beneficiaries of the former energy market structure are only to be expected, but the attacks from liberal economists are astonishingly fierce.

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Randall Halle

Film history marks the various transformations in the material and imaginative relations between Germans and Poles in the postwar era. This article explores how film—the primary contemporary vehicle for imaginative communities—has played an important role in envisioning various spatial relationships, as well as the political and cultural shifts in the general population of Germany, West and East, and Poland. The article surveys the representation of flight and expulsion from the East first in the fictional feature film and then in the documentary genre. It then turns to contemporary productions that offer new visions of contemporary German-Polish relationships. It considers different strategies of filmmaking, such as big budget historic event films, the melancholic frame of expellee videos, the contemporary interzonal film, among others.

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John S. Brady and Sarah Elise Wiliarty

In December 1995, the Center for German and European Studies at

the University of California at Berkeley hosted the conference, “The

Postwar Transformation of Germany: Prosperity, Democracy, and

Nationhood.” During the proceedings and in the edited volume that

resulted, conference contributors explored the reasons for Germany’s

success in making the transition to a liberal democratic polity

supported by a rationalized national identity and a modern, dynamic

capitalist economy. In charting postwar Germany’s success, the contributors

weighed the relative contribution institutional, cultural, and

international variables made to the country’s transformation.

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Patrick Stevenson

This article addresses the complex relationships between political discourses, demographic constellations, the affordances of new technologies, and linguistic practices in contemporary Germany. It focuses on political and personal responses to the increasingly multilingual nature of German society and the often-conflicting ways in which “the German language” figures in strategies promoting social integration and Germany's global position. In order to do this, the idea of “the German language” is contextualized in relation to both internal and external processes of contemporary social change. On the one hand, changes to the social order arising from the increasingly complex patterns of inward migration have led to conflicts between a persistent monolingual ideology and multilingual realities. On the other hand, changes in the global context and the explosive growth of new social media have resulted in both challenges and new opportunities for the German language in international communication. In this context, the article explores internal and external policy responses, for example, in relation to education and citizenship in Germany, and the embedding of German language campaigns in strategies promoting multilingualism; and impacts on individual linguistic practices and behaviors, such as the emergence of “multiethnolects” and online multilingualism.

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Jonathan R. Zatlin

Stephen F. Frowen and Robert Pringle, eds., Inside the Bundesbank (St. Martins Press: New York, 1998)

Peter A. Johnson, The Government of Money: Monetarism in Germany and the United States (Cornell University Press: Ithaca and London, 1998)

Karl Kaltenthaler, Germany and the Politics of Europe’s Money (Duke University Press: Durham and London 1998)

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David P. Conradt

After ten years of research on Germany’s postunification political

culture, there is no scholarly consensus on the critical questions of

east-west differences, the impact of unification on western German

culture, and developmental trends in the two regions. These questions

have become more acute in the light of decreased eastern economic

growth, high unemployment, and growing evidence of a

radical right-wing subculture in the new states.

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Karl-Werner Brand

Goodbody, Axel. 2007. Nature, Technology and Cultural Change in Twentieth-Century German Literature: The Challenge of Ecocriticism. New York: Palgrave.

Markham, William T. 2008. Environmental Organizations in Modern Germany: Hardy Survivors in the Twentieth Century and Beyond. New York: Berghahn Books.

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Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos

This special issue of German Politics and Society offers a retrospective look at

the German Citizenship Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz, StAG), which passed in

1999 and came into force in 2000.1 The law was and continues to be understood

by many academics, policymakers, and lay commentators as constituting

a “paradigm shift” in German citizenship policy and, by extension,

prevailing conceptions of German nationhood. The introduction of the law

of territory (jus soli), in particular, was greeted as a welcome acknowledgement

of Germany’s de facto status as a modern immigration country. Children

born and raised in Germany would no longer be rendered permanent

foreigners as a consequence of the dominance of the law of descent (jus sanguinis)

in the Reichs- und Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz (RuStAG), 1913. Proponents

assumed that the reduction of the residency requirement for naturalization

would also allow greater numbers of long settled immigrants to assume the

rights and privileges of German nationality. Just as importantly, Germany

would join the European mainstream as regarded citizenship policy. The

stigma associated with its traditionally ethnic conception of nationhood

would give way to a more positive, civic identity.

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Siobhan Kattago

Commemorating National Socialism and Communism from the perspective

of 1989 often results in an uneasy conflation of German

guilt and victimhood. When the events of 1933-1989 are presented

as one long authoritarian period, war and tyranny can easily be construed

as external forces that simply befell the German nation.

While memories of national guilt are divisive, memories of victimhood

unify and simplify an otherwise ambiguous past. The 1995

restoration of Berlin’s Neue Wache is emblematic of this conflation

of guilt and victimhood. As the central German memorial to all victims

of war and tyranny, the Neue Wache neither distinguishes

between dictatorships, nor between perpetrator and victim.

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Anke Hassel

German unification acted as a catalyst for the substantial transformation of the German welfare and employment regime which has taken place over the last two decades. The changes can be described as a process of a partial liberalization of the labor market within the boundaries of a coordinated industrial relations system and a conservative welfare state. This article depicts the transformation as a trend towards a more liberal welfare and employment regime by focusing on the shifting boundaries between status and income maintenance and poor relief systems.