Socialist Modern

East German Everyday Culture and Politics
Katherine Pence & Paul Betts, editors
Explores the ways in which modernity shaped the relationship between socialist state and society in East Germany

Description

The reunification of Germany in 1989 may have put an end to the experiment in East German communism, but its historical assessment is far from over. Where most of the literature over the past two decades has been driven by the desire to uncover the relationship between power and resistance, complicity and consent, more recent scholarship tends to concentrate on the everyday history of East German citizens.

This volume builds on the latest literature by exploring the development and experience of life in East Germany, with a particular view toward addressing the question: What did modernity mean for the East German state and society? As such, the collection moves beyond the conceptual divide between state-level politics and everyday life to sharply focus on the specific contours of the GDR's unique experiment in Cold War socialism. What unites all the essays is the question of how the very tensions around "socialist modernity" shaped the views, memories, and actions of East Germans over four decades.

"An impressive volume drawing together rich, diverse essays by some of the most interesting, well-known, and experienced scholars on the GDR in the field, on both sides of the Atlantic."
---Dr. Jan Palmowski, Senior Lecturer in European Studies at King's College London, and Review Editor for German History

"Delving into many sides of the GDR modern, Pence and Betts present both new empirical evidence and offer insightful theoretical perspectives. The idea of the 'Socialist Modern' provides an excellent conceptual framework; the focus on culture fills a hole in the literature, the introduction is theoretically sophisticated and well-grounded in the historiography, and the span and heterogeneity of the articles are impressive."
---Donna Harsch, Associate Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University

Katherine Pence is Assistant Professor of History, Baruch College, City University of New York.

Paul Betts is Reader in Modern German History, University of Sussex, Brighton, England.

Contributors
Daphne Berdahl
Paul Betts
Alon Confino
Greg Eghigian
Dagmar Herzog
Young-Sun Hong
Thomas Lindenberger
Alf L├╝dtke
Ina Merkel
Katherine Pence
Judd Stitziel
Dorothee Wierling

Praise / Awards

  • "Delving into many sides of the GDR modern, Pence and Betts present both new empirical evidence and offer insightful theoretical perspectives. The idea of the 'Socialist Modern' provides an excellent conceptual framework; the focus on culture fills a hole in the literature, the introduction is theoretically sophisticated and well-grounded in the historiography, and the span and heterogeneity of the articles are impressive."
    ---Donna Harsch, Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University

  • "An impressive volume drawing together rich, diverse essays by some of the most interesting, well-known, and experienced scholars on the GDR in the field, on both sides of the Atlantic. Their sophisticated essays are extremely thought-provoking on very complex topics, such as identity and the memory of East Germany, and represent the latest research on the GDR. Socialist Modern will make a genuinely new and fresh contribution to the scholarly debate on the GDR, but it is not only for scholars; it is also an important book for students."
    ---Dr. Jan Palmowski, Senior Lecturer in European Studies at King's College London and Review Editor for German History

  • "The editors' effort . . . makes this volume a welcome addition to the ongoing sturggle to rethink German history through the postwar era."
    ---H. Glenn Penny, University of Iowa, Central European History

  • "Perhaps not suprisingly, politics and the economy formed an intial focus for research, but it was not long before GDR society and culture came under scholary scrutiny. This collection presents some of the fruits of this more recent trend, showcasing a range of authros from Great Britain, the United States and Germany, covering a wide variety of topics in essays that deploy a wide variety of approches and types of evidence."
    — Raymond Stokes, Professor at University of Glasgow, American Historical Review

Look Inside

Contents

Introduction
Katherine Pence and Paul Betts - 1

SELVES

Homo Munitus: The East German Observed
Greg Eghigian - 37

East Germany's Sexual Evolution
Dagmar Herzog - 71

Building Socialism at Home: The Case of East German Interiors
Paul Betts - 96

The Travels of Bettina Humpel: One Stasi File and Narratives of State and Self in East Germany
Alon Confino - 133

BELONGING

Youth as Internal Enemy: Conflicts in the Education Dictatorship of the 1960s
Dorothee Wierling - 157

"The Benefits of Health Must Spread Among All": International Solidarity, Health, and Race in the East German Encounter with the Third World
Young-Sun Hong - 183

"Asociality" and Modernity: The GDR as a Welfare Dictatorship
Thomas Lindenberger - 211

The World of Men's Work, East and West
Alf Ludtke - 234

DESIRES

Shopping, Sewing, Networking, Complaining: Consumer Culture and the Relationship between State and Society in the GDR
Judd Stitziel - 253

Women on the Verge: Consumers between Private Desires and Public Crisis
Katherine Pence - 287

Alternative Rationalities, Strange Dreams, Absurd Utopias:
On Socialist Advertising and Market Research
Ina Merkel - 323

Re-Presenting the Socialist Modern:
Museums and Memory in the Former GDR
Daphne Berdahl - 345

Contributors - 367

Index - 371

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 392pp.
  • 3 Figures, 13 B&W photographs and 2 Tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2007
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06974-3

Add to Cart
  • $31.95 U.S.

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