Power and Society in the GDR, 1961-1979: The 'Normalisation of Rule'?

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Mary Fulbrook
Berghahn Books, May 30, 2009 - History - 348 pages
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The communist German Democratic Republic, founded in 1949 in the Soviet-occupied zone of post-war Germany is, for many people, epitomized by the Berlin Wall; Soviet tanks and surveillance by the secret security police, the Stasi, appear to be central. But is this really all there is to the GDR1s history? How did people come to terms with their situation and make new lives behind the Wall? When the social history of the GDR in the 1960s and 1970s is explored, new patterns become evident. A fragile stability emerged in a period characterized by 'consumer socialism', international recognition and détente. Growing participation in the micro-structures of power, and conformity to the unwritten rules of an increasingly predictable system, suggest increasing accommodation to dominant norms and conceptions of socialist 'normality'. By exploring the ways in which lower-level functionaries and people at the grass roots contributed to the formation and transformation of the GDR from industry and agriculture, through popular sport and cultural life, to the passage of generations and varieties of social experience the contributors collectively develop a more complex approach to the history of East Germany.


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Chapter 1The Concept of Normalisation and the GDR in Comparative Perspective
Part INormalisation as Stabilisation and Routinisation?
Normalisation and the Ideological Struggle in the Context of Detente and Ostpolitik
The Problem of Routinisation
The Case of Bezirk Erfurt from the 1960s to the 1970s
Sport for the Masses and Popular Music in the GDR
The Prerequisites for Cultural Participation
Local Activists and the Heimat
Chapter 9The GDRA Normal Country in the Centre of Europe
Chapter 10How Do the 1929ers and the 1949ers Differ?
Chapter 11Producing the Socialist Personality? Socialisation Education and the Emergence of New Patterns of Behaviour
The GDRs Most Normal Year?
East German Perspectives on Their Own Lives
Select Bibliography

Part IINormalisation as Internalisastion?
Reconsidering Approaches to the History of the GDR

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About the author (2009)

Educated at Cambridge and Harvard, Professor Mary Fulbrook is Dean of the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences at UCL (University College London) and a Fellow of the British Academy.She is the author of numerous books, including: overviews such as A Concise History of Germany and A History of Germany 1918–2008: The Divided Nation; as well as seminal works on the GDR, such as Anatomy of a Dictatorship: Inside the GDR and The People's State: East German Society from Hitler to Honecker, as well as Dissonant Lives: Generations and Violence through the German Dictatorships; and works on Historical Theory and German National Identity after the Holocaust. Her most recent book is the prize-winning A Small Town near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust.

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