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Astrid Segert

How can one best investigate the mental attitudes and patterns of

behavior of eastern Germans eight years after political unification?

Since 1990, the method dominating this discussion has been based

on measuring the degree to which easterners have “caught up” with

the supposedly more modern western Germans. However, empirical

studies and surveys have shown that this model is an ineffective, even

inappropriate means of describing how unification has impacted the

lives of eastern Germans. In this article, I argue that a more appropriate

approach is to consider the enduring differences in the opportunity

structures among eastern and western Germans, as well as the

differences in their respective behavioral patterns. In this context,

“opportunity structure” refers to the opportunities provided and limitations

imposed by social structures. For the analysis of opportunity

structures, I focus on what I call “contradictory adaptation” and

“problematic normalization.” My analysis of behavioral patterns

emphasizes the logic internal to the subjects themselves (Eigenlogik).

This internal logic differs significantly from outsiders’ interpretations

of easterners’ behavior, as the following example illustrates.

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Jost Dülffer

The years of Adenauer's chancellorship 1949-1963 were an extremely violent and anxiety laden period in recent history. Adenauer himself tried to combine as basic aims Western integration and German unification, but the latter more and more became a matter of lip-service for the time being for domestic reasons. The article focused on his Potsdam complex which meant the fear that the Western allies and the Soviet Union might find a solution of the German question without unification or in a kind of neutralism. In the course of the 1950ies and especially during the Berlin Wall crisis 1958-1962, Adenauer's course became more and more isolated because he tried to prevent all talks on relaxation of tensions, but also on the German question: both might lead to a status minor and the FRG especially. The author demonstrates how this process of isolation in the domestic as well as in the international field diminished the authority of the first chancellor of the FRG. He nevertheless continued to adhere to the necessary dichotomy of the Cold War camps with being able to formulate a diverging line. It is suggested that these questions of alternatives to the Cold War, given the mutual anxiety of the two camps should be used as a starting point for further research.

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Jonathan Olsen

The story of Die Linke (Left Party, or LP) over the past thirty years reflects the incomplete project of politically unifying the two halves of Germany. Over the course of its history, the LP has been transformed from a desperate holdover from the communist era, to a populist representative of eastern identity in the decade after unification, and finally to a modern, all-German radical left party. Since 2015, however, the LP has found itself threatened in its eastern German heartland by the radical right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is attempting to supplant the LP as the voice of eastern German protest.

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Myra Marx Ferree

This article traces four contested identity claims that carry gender meanings into politics and express the gendered tensions awakened along specific dimensions of institutional change across the past twenty years. The cultural definition of the German nation in the face of immigration, the integration of the German state in a transnational project of making a single Europe, the economic restructuring of unification and its effects on the resources and opportunities available on each side of the former wall, and political changes in the representation of women in state offices, by parties and in national policy-making all reflect continuing struggles over the institutionalized boundaries of inclusion and exclusion as a nation, an imagined community. All of these processes engage passionate feelings about gender relations and have implications for the ordinary lives of women and men as citizens and family members in the new Berlin Republic.

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Robert Pirro

In the aftermath of unification, the loss of job security and other forms of social support under East Germany's comprehensive (if increasingly inefficient and corrupt) system of welfare state paternalism, coupled with a newfound dependence on West German financial largesse, not only disoriented former East Germans, but also led to pressures on them to repress their past experiences of solidarity and distinctiveness. Schultze Gets the Blues, the critically acclaimed box office hit from director Michael Schorr, relates the story of a retired mineworker and accordionist for a town band in the economic backwaters of eastern Germany who undergoes a lifechanging conversion to the Cajun folk music of Zydeco. Drawing from Joseph Roach's notion of surrogation and Cornel West's articulation of an African-American tragic sensibility, this article casts Schultze in the role of a postunification mediating figure reconciling East German solidarity and localism with West German individualism and multiculturalism.

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Eric Langenbacher

The Federal Republic of Germany—both before and after 1989—has been influenced deeply by collective memories of the Nazi period and the Holocaust, a seemingly "unmasterable past." In a first phase after unification, memory trends, which had their origin in the mid 1980s, continued, but a second period, beginning around the 1999 move of the capital back to Berlin, however, witnessed the erosion of this older trend and the delayed rise of new memory dynamics. Substantively, there have been three vectors of memory concerning Nazi crimes, German suffering, and the period of division, especially regarding the German Democratic Republic. In this article, I outline the major collective memory dynamics and debates, first from a qualitative and then from a more quantitative perspective where I analyze the holdings of the German National Library. I conclude that an intense period of memory work characterized the postunification years, but the peak of concern was reached several years ago and the German future will be much less beholden to the past. Given inevitable normalizing trends and the unintended consequences of the hegemony of Holocaust memory, Germany's difficult historical legacy increasingly appears to be disappearing or even mastered.

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Joyce Marie Mushaben

Germans have now been unified for thirty years, longer than they had been separated by concrete barriers, yet the Wall in their respective heads has persisted. Unequal wages, a lack of investment in structurally weak regions, and ongoing western elite domination continue to fuel Eastern perceptions of second-class citizenship, despite significant shifts in the fates of key social groups who initially saw themselves as the “winners” and losers” of unification. This article considers the dialectical identities of four groups whose collective opportunity structures have been dramatically reconfigured since 1990: eastern intellectuals and dissidents; working women and mothers; eastern youth; and middle-aged men. It argues that the two groups counted among the immediate winners of unification—dissidents and men—have traded places over the last three decades with the two strata counted among unity’s core losers, women and youth. It also testifies to fundamental, albeit rarely noted changes that have taken hold with regard to the identities of western Germans across thirty years of unification.

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Hans Kundnani

In this paper I examine the use of the concept of "normality" in debates about German foreign policy since unification. In the early 1990s, left-wing intellectuals such as Jürgen Habermas tended to criticize the idea of "normality" in favor of a form of German exceptionalism based on responsibility for the Nazi past. A foreign policy based on the idea of "normality" was associated above all with the greater use of military force, which the right advocated and the left opposed. Thus, "normality" became a synonym for Bündnisfähigkeit. Yet, from the mid 1990s onwards, some Social Democrats such as Egon Bahr began to use the concept of "normality" to refer instead to a foreign policy based on sovereignty and the pursuit of national interests. Although a consensus has now emerged in Germany around this realist definition of foreign-policy "normality," it is inadequate to capture the complex shift in the foreign policy of the Federal Republic since unification.

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Jennifer Ruth Hosek

The years following the fall of the Berlin Wall saw a wave of interest in a far away nation now largely independent of Soviet influence: Cuba. The three documentary fims that this article treats are a part of this "Cuba wave." Yet, as I argue here, more than simply tales of the Caribbean, Buena Vista Social Club by Wim Wenders and Havanna mi amor and Heirate mich! by Uli Gaulke and Jeannette Eggert are ciphers for competing and unpopular discourses surrounding German (re)unification. As sanctioned narratives of the Germanies increasingly ossify, these films articulate obscured and agonistic visions of national identity in the Berlin Republic.

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Christopher S. Allen

For much of the past two decades since unification, the literature on the German economy has largely focused on the erosion of the German model of organized capitalism and emphasized institutional decline and the corresponding rise of neoliberalism. The first part of the article analyzes the strains unification placed on German economic performance that caused many observers to call for modification of the model in a more neo-liberal direction. The second part takes a different focus and lays out the main rationale of the paper. It inquires why such a coordinated market economy was created in the first place and whether a renewed form of it might still be useful for Germany, the European Union, and other developed democracies in the early twenty-first century. The third section articulates the origins of the institutional and ideational components of these coordinated market economy models, during both the Bismarckian and Social Market Economy periods. The final portion inquires whether the failure of the contemporary liberal market economy approach in the wake of the worldwide financial crisis and severe recession represents a possible opening for the creation of a third coordinated market economy not only for Germany but for a redesigned European Union.