Political (re)learning and consumer culture in post-GDR society

Hogwood, P. 2012. Political (re)learning and consumer culture in post-GDR society. German Politics. 21 (1), pp. 1-16.

TitlePolitical (re)learning and consumer culture in post-GDR society
AuthorsHogwood, P.
Abstract

Private consumption may be seen both as a means of individual social legitimation and as an expression of collective values and identities. As such, consumer behaviour may evidence the nature and extent of adaptation of political values and orientations during periods of political transition. This study identifies and analyses recent trends in consumer behaviour in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) as expressions of identity adaptation. It argues that East Germans' distinctive socialisation, combined with the liminal experience of German unification, has promoted the development of a consumer culture that is compatible with liberal, late-capitalist values and yet differs in key respects from the West German ‘reference culture’. The emerging East German consumer culture can be characterised as pragmatic-experimental. The unusually politicised role of consumer cultures in the post-GDR transition trajectory enhances the potential for consumer behaviours to be co-constitutive, as well as illustrative, of East German political identity.

JournalGerman Politics
Journal citation21 (1), pp. 1-16
ISSN0964-4008
Year2012
PublisherRoutledge
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/09644008.2011.653343
Publication dates
Published2012

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