Download Becoming East German: Socialist Structures and Sensibilities by Mary Fulbrook, Andrew I. Port  PDF

By Mary Fulbrook, Andrew I. Port 

for about the 1st decade after the death of the GDR, specialist and renowned interpretations of East German heritage focused totally on different types of strength and repression, in addition to on dissent and resistance to communist rule. Socio-cultural ways have more and more proven single-minded emphasis on repression and coercion fails to deal with a few very important old concerns, together with these with regards to the subjective reports of these who lived below communist regimes. With that during brain, the essays during this quantity discover major actual and mental points of lifestyles within the GDR, equivalent to well-being and vitamin, rest and eating, stories of the Nazi earlier, in addition to identification, activities, and reports of daily humiliation. Situating the GDR inside of a broader ancient context, they open up new methods of examining lifestyles at the back of the Iron Curtain – whereas supplying a devastating critique of deceptive mainstream scholarship, which maintains to painting the GDR within the restrictive phrases of totalitarian theory.

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22 This is the type of unrestrained rhetoric to which critics have responded—and that they have rightly rejected. Faced with an onslaught of criticism over the past decade and a half, some totalitarian theorists have begun to scale back their claims. 24 Greater pliability as a descriptive term represents some progress, but one wonders what is left of the “theory” if it is reduced to a model of intentions, and what its purpose and use is if so many variations of the term are not only possible, but now even considered by its own proponents to be necessary.

While many of the initial studies focused on the early decades of the regime under SED leader Walter Ulbricht, more recent ones have looked at its last two decades under Erich Honecker or, in rare cases, the entire forty-year history of the GDR. ”6 The Peculiarities of Totalitarian Theory Out of these various approaches has emerged a major scholarly debate that has come to dominate the field of East German studies—arguably to its detriment. At the heart of the discussion is a deceptively simple question: was the GDR a totalitarian regime in fact as well as in theory?

The “internalization” of norms and values is difficult to measure, of course. ” To be clear: no claim is being made about what constitutes a “normal” society. ”41 But what is the heuristic value of such a concept? In the first place, it can help us better understand which factors, besides repression, contributed to the stability of the East German regime—an issue that has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention since the demise of the GDR. 42 Accommodation with the regime should not be equated with support for the regime.

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