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Separation after unification? The crisis of national identity in eastern Germany.

Staab, Andreas (1997) Separation after unification? The crisis of national identity in eastern Germany. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

On October 3, 1990 Germany was formally reunified through an extension of the legal, political and economic structures of West Germany into the former GDR. For East Germans this transformation represented a challenging process. Former values, orientations and standards were subject to severe scrutiny which affected virtually every realm of an individual's life. The thesis analyses the development from the divided to the unified Germany and asks to what extent East Germans have adopted a collective orientation in line with that of the western part. Such identity markers are conceptualized into five distinct categories consisting of orientations in the realm of territory, economics, ethnicity, mass culture, as well as in the civic-political sphere. The study relies to some extent on public opinion surveys and on qualitative data including media sources, literature and impressionistic accounts. Political-historical analyses of the identities of the Federal and the German Democratic Republic are followed by interrogations into the state of the East German identity as it evolved between 1990 and 1996. The study provides a deeper understanding of those processes and determinants which brought continuity or change to the German political system. Although interrogations into national identities are neither able to determine the precise moment of change, nor the precise scope and direction of political action they offer well-defined tracks along which political decisions are received in a supportive or oppositional manner. The study of national identity therefore does not represent the universal remedy for the explanation of complex political phenomena. Nonetheless, it is indispensable in enhancing the explanatory power and predictive capacity of political analyses since it broadens understanding and enriches political sensitivity. The thesis identifies a significant range of commonalties, as well as striking features of mutually exclusive areas which prevent the establishment of a common national identity shared by east and west.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations, European Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2849

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