Inventing a socialist nation : Heimat and the politics of everyday life in the GDR, 1945-1990 / Jan Palmowski
- Palmowski, Jan
- Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2009.
- Physical Description:
- xv, 342 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
- New studies in European history
- 1. Introduction -- Pt. 1. Socialism, heimat and the construction of identity -- 2. Cultural renewal and national division, 1945 - c. 1958 -- 3. Traces of stones -- Pt. 2. Public and private transcripts -- 4. Heimat and identity in the Honecker era -- 5. Citizenship and participation in the local community - 'Join in!' -- 6. Environmental destruction -- Pt. 3. Power, practices and meanings -- 7. Social drama and the euphemization of power -- 8. Cultural practices, Eigen-Sinn and hidden meanings -- Conclusion: From citizens to revolutionaries.
- "Twenty years after the collapse of the German Democratic Republic, historians still struggle to explain how an apparently stable state imploded with such vehemence. This is the first book to show how 'national' identity was invented in the GDR and how citizens engaged with it. Jan Palmowski argues that it was hard for individuals to identify with the GDR amid the threat of Stasi informants and with the accelerating urban and environmental decay of the 1970s and 1980s. Since socialism contradicted its own ideals of community, identity and environmental care, citizens developed rival meanings of nationhood and identities and learned to mask their growing distance from socialism beneath regular public assertions of socialist belonging. This stabilized the party's rule until 1989. However, when the revolution came, the alternative identifications citizens had developed for decades allowed them to abandon their 'nation', the GDR, with remarkable ease"--Provided by publisher.
"This study explores the significance and the meanings of nation, homeland and patriotism under the conditions of socialism in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The GDR hardly constitutes a 'typical' socialist state. A central pillar to the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and a frontline state in the Cold War, the GDR remained tightly under Soviet control until 1989. What made the GDR unique within the socialist bloc was the absence of a distinctive nationhood, which was constantly challenged by the larger and more prosperous part of Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). For this reason, those scholars who have considered the issue have argued that in the GDR, nationalism played next to no role 'as movement, as political idea, and as popular sentiment' before 1989. The idea of the nation, such as it existed, was closely tied to the promise of consumerism in the FRG - 'DM Nationalismus', as Jurgen Habermas called it. National identity appeared to be of little consequence in assessing the history of the GDR and its collapse. Even German reunification 'was not so much a nationalist idea as a route for East Germans to an imagined world of prosperity and freedom'"--Provided by publisher.
- 9780521111775 (hardback)
- Bibliography Note:
- Includes bibliographical references and index.
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