“the Respected and the Outlaws in Social and Political Change”

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:51
Location: Seminarraum Geschichte 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Martina SCHIEBEL, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany
In Germany, the geopolitical faultline of the Cold War, enemy images played an important role after 1945 and especially after the creation of the two German states in 1949. One “result” was increasing anticommunist tendencies in the era Adenauer in West Germany. Official ideologies classified people whose political views differed from those of the majority as “subversive”. A similar political atmosphere could be found in East Germany, where those expressing critical political views were also quickly labelled “subversive”.

In my paper I would like to focus on people who had made the biographical experience of being sanctioned and arrested in Eastern and Western Germany in the 1950th and early 1960th. In my research study I’ve contrasted biographical narrations with the discourses of public press. Groups where because of their political opinions and ideals defined – I called them in my typology – as the respected or as the outlaws. But those labels where changing historically and produces – at least after the German unification – different groupings: Depending on political regimes and public discourses former insider became outsider and vice versa. The empirical findings are not only helpful discover the consequences for political action, political culture and commemorative culture in Germany. They give us a closer look into the process of figuration in social and political change.