Civic Engagement As Biographical Work and Contribution to Mental Health
I will present selected biographical courses as well as effects and conditions – both adversely and resilient. In this regard, the ambivalent role of the families is one of the discussed issues. The familial position of the interviewees and their experiences of demotion, stigmatisation, and loss were major drivers of the pathogenesis. On the other hand, families are as well resources of cultural and social capital (Bourdieu; Putnam) for civic engagement.
I will illustrate to what extent the social conditions in the GDR potentially could stabilise people – for example through opportunities of employment and engagement – and how the transformation after 1989 led to adverse and insecure experiences. However, at the same time, the installation of democratic structures provided alternative opportunities to treat adverse and stressful life experiences. In particular, different sectors of civic engagement provide opportunities for biographical work. Summarising, I will show the perspectives and limitations for recovering mental illness under the conditions of ongoing familial dynamics, available networks, other resources, and new problems of action.