Where better to begin talking about Viennese identity in the late twentieth century than in the work of Elfriede Jelinek and Thomas Bernhard—specifically, in two plays whose titles immediately evoke the city as well as pregnant moments in its history: Jelinek's Burgtheater (published 1982; premiered 1985 in Bonn) and Bernhard's Heldenplatz (premiered 1988 in Vienna's Burgtheater). Insofar as the two plays dramatize the extent to which National Socialism took hold and persisted in Austria, they epitomize both authors' perennial roles as keen observers and harsh critics of Austrian society. Burgtheater and the scandal it generated established Jelinek's function as "Nestbeschmutzerin," whereas Heldenplatz, appearing the year before Bernhard's death, can be regarded as the capstone of his career as a critic of Austrian mores and politics.
Jennifer Ruth Hosek
The West Berlin anti-authoritarians around Rudi Dutschke employed a notion of subaltern nationalism inspired by independence struggles in the global South and particularly by post 1959 Cuba to legitimate their loosely understood plans to recreate West Berlin as a revolutionary island. Responding to Che Guevara's call for many Vietnams, they imagined this Northern metropolis as a Focus spreading socialism of the third way throughout Europe, a conception that united their local and global aims. In focusing on their interpretation of societal changes and structures in Cuba, the anti-authoritarians deemphasized these plans' potential for violence. As a study of West German leftists in transnational context, this article suggests the limitations of confining analyses of their projects within national or Northern paradigms. As a study of the influence of the global South on the North in a non-(post)colonial situation, it suggests that such influence is greater than has heretofore been understood.
William Collins Donahue, Holocaust as Fiction: Bernhard Schlink's “Nazi“ Novels and Their Films(New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
Reviewed by Margaret McCarthy
Theodor W. Adorno, Guilt and Defense: On the Legacies of National Socialism in Postwar Germany, edited, translated, and introduced by Jeffrey K. Olick and Andrew J. Perrin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010)
Reviewed by Gregory R. Smulewicz-Zucker
Friedrich Pollock, Theodor W. Adorno, and Colleagues, Group Experiment and other Writings: The Frankfurt School on Public Opinion in Postwar Germany, edited and translated by Andrew J. Perrin and Jeffrey K. Olick (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011).
Reviewed by Jan Boesten
Gabriele Mueller and James M. Skidmore, eds. Cinema and Social Change in Germany and Austria(Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012).
Reviewed by Sabine von Mering
Christopher J. Fischer, Alsace to the Alsatians? Visions and Divisions of Alsatian Regionalism, 1870-1939(New York: Berghahn Books, 2010)
Reviewed by Jennifer A. Yoder
The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) stands at a political crossroad.
In October 2000, Gregor Gysi resigned as parliamentary leader
of the PDS, and, though pledging to remain active in the party, he
will no longer hold any important party post. Gysi’s resignation was
no surprise, since he had already announced his intentions at the
PDS’s controversial Parteitag in Münster in March 2000. Nevertheless,
the reality of a “post-Gysi” PDS has only now begun to settle in.
More than any other politician in Germany—and perhaps more than
any German politician in recent memory—Gysi personified his party.
The sense of anxiousness among PDS leaders and the majority of
the party rank-and-file in the wake of Gysi’s departure is palpable.
Shifting provision, needs, and meanings of enterprise-centered pensioner care in eastern Germany
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.
The changing face of compassionate social security
Melissa L. Caldwell
Changing emigration and co-residence patterns in the post-Soviet period have left many elderly Russians living alone or without caretakers in close proximity. In addition, Russia's transition from state socialism to neoliberal capitalism has encouraged private welfare groups, often funded and staffed by foreigners, to assume increased responsibility for providing social security to elderly people. Consequently, notions of compassion are undergoing transformation in Russia, and the types of people who provide care are also changing dramatically as caregivers are more likely to be strangers, and especially foreigners, rather than family members. This article examines social security arrangements among Russia's elderly, with particular emphasis on the emergence of transnational caregiving relationships, and how these caregiving arrangements differ from global care networks reported elsewhere.
Postcolonial studies and postsocialism in Eastern Europe
The introduction to this special section explores the ways in which postcolonial studies contribute a deeper understanding of postsocialist change in Central and Eastern Europe. Since the collapse of socialism, anthropological and other social science studies of Eastern Europe have highlighted deep divides between “East” and “West” and drawn attention to the ways in which socialist practices persist into the postsocialist period. We seek to move beyond discourses of the East/West divide by examining the postsocialist context through the lens of postcolonial studies. We look at four aspects of postcolonial studies and explore their relevance for understanding postsocialist Eastern Europe: orientalism, nation and identity, hybridity, and voice. These themes are particular salient from the perspective of gender and sexuality, key concepts through which both postcolonialism and postsocialism can be understood. We thus pay particular attention to the exchange of ideas between East/West, local/global, and national/international arenas.
Twenty years after the end of communist rule in Czechoslovakia, numerous public and private acts of remembrance both hail the end of state socialism and rally Czech society to be on guard against its possible return. This article compares three sets of remembrances-official commemorations sponsored by the state and/or private corporations, activists' alternative memory acts, and personal accounts of Czech citizens-to reveal how each of these give voice to fears and anxieties over the possibilities of “forgetting“ communism. Promoting a vision of the nation as united in ensuring that the future remains “communist-free“, widespread concerns over social amnesia and civic apathy become, I argue, a means of bonding citizens together and to the state. What, however, exactly characterizes a “noncommunist“ society is left necessarily ambiguous.
This article examines memories of socialism among different generations in Nowa Huta, Poland. Initially built as an industrial “model socialist town“, since 1989 Nowa Huta experienced economic decline and marginalization. Its socialist legacy is now being reinterpreted in ways that reflect changed political, economic, and social conditions. This article describes contemporary public representations of the town's history and considers how they resonate with the experiences and understandings of different generations of residents, from the town's builders to the youngest generation, who have no firsthand memories of the socialist period. It demonstrates how generational categories are both reflected and constructed through different accounts of the past, while also revealing overlaps between them. Throughout, specific attention is paid to the relationship between narratives of the past, present, and future, and present-day political and economic realities.
Anticommunism, crisis, and the transformation of labor in Bulgaria
This article discusses perceptions of continuity and change as viewed from the shop floor of a privatized postsocialist factory. Neoliberal templates have reshaped the organization of production and resulted in a fragmentation of the workforce and new inequalities. These shifts, which have become main topic of everyday workplace conversation, have not generated critical commentary on wider encompassing neoliberal inequalities. Instead, critique has centered on the inequalities of “communism”. Workers talk about radical upheavals and successive crises but also emphasize significant continuities of power that have bridged socialism and neoliberal capitalism. Thus, even pro-market, neoliberal practices and forms of power are often described as “communist”, situated within an entrenched establishment that originated in the socialist era. Therefore, criticisms of neoliberal transformations are often framed in terms of an anticommunist rhetoric.