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Civil Society on the Move

Transition and Transfer in Germany and South Korea

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Edited By Eun-Jeung Lee and Hannes B. Mosler

Following the transformation of the Soviet-controlled Eastern European system, there has been a renewal of discourses on civil society. The collection of essays discusses this complicated and controversial concept and explores the possibility of new approaches for the study of Korean civil society and democracy. Combining interdisciplinary and transregional research, it contributes directly to the field of democracy after democratization and sheds light on concepts of civil society, developments of various civil society organizations and student movements in Germany, Korea, and Eastern Europe.
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1968 and its Consequences in the GDR – Looking for Traces in the Cultural Field

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This essay is concerned with the influence of the 1968 protests in the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. Being born and raised in the GDR, the author investigates the questions of how and what kinds of aspects of the movement were reflected in literature, both among intellectuals and the more general cultural field of East Germany.

Ich stamm aus einem kleinen Volk mit Hang zum Größenwahne, wir träumten von einer besseren Welt und meist von der Banane.

Hans-Eckardt Wenzel

The influence of the critical-antiauthoritarian stance associated with the political tag word “1968” can be seen mostly easily, both in the West and East, in everyday culture. Representing the East Germans in this respect is Tony Krahl, the popular singer of the GDR rock band City describes his school days in East Berlin in the 1960s as follows:

“You had to have a parka, metal-rimmed glasses and a doctor’s bag for your schoolbag. The teachers were always complaining to our parents about our long hair.” (Galenza/Havemeister 2010: 511)

Many East Germans would probably recognize themselves in this description, even those who went to school in the 1970s and early 1980s. Tony Krahl’s description is also interesting because he went to school with the later GDR punk icon Aljoscha Rompe, who was also stepson of Robert Rompe, a member of the SED’s central committee. Rompe belonged later to the cultural “Bohemia” in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood and...

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