Divided Glorification? The GDR and the Old Federal Republic of Germany in Social Media

Beginn des Projektes: December 2018

PhD project

The project investigates memory practices in digital "social media" that explicitly or implicitly address everyday life in the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany before 1990. It analyzes the extent to which digitization, the most recent episode of medialization, also produced new collective and individual memory practices after 1990. In particular, the so-called Web 2.0 with its numerous platforms for easily accessible, user-generated content is being researched as a new space and public sphere for commemorative communication.

With regard to the still ambivalent memory of the GDR, the study asks which narratives and historical images of the GDR are shared in social media and to what extent they differ from the interpretative offers of state institutions. Against the backdrop of the so-called "nostalgia wave" of the late 1970s and early 1980s in West Germany and the "Ostalgie" debate of the 1990s and early 2000s, the specificity of GDR memory practices will then be questioned and everyday memories embedded. The memory of life in the "old" Federal Republic of Germany - which has hardly been considered by research to date - serves as a comparative object. One initial hypothesis is that the (nostalgic) memory of supposedly "good old times" for the purpose of constructing individual and collective identities is not a genuinely GDR-specific phenomenon. The project investigates which narratives, political diagnoses of the present and thus identity and alterity constructions the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany use. What parallels and differences arise in relation to memory topoi (childhood, youth, national/international popular culture, consumption, working world, leisure time, home region, etc.) and media memory carriers (photos, music, mass media, etc.) against the background of the system difference before 1989 and the time after reunification?

The project was edited by Nils Theinert from 12/2018 to 02/2020.

Lea Frese-Renner

Leibniz Center for Contemporary History Potsdam
Am Neuen Markt 1
14467 Potsdam

office: Am Neuen Markt 1, room 1.29
phone: 0331/28991-79
E-Mail: frese-renner [at] zzf-potsdam.de

Forschung

Divided Glorification? The GDR and the Old Federal Republic of Germany in Social Media

Beginn des Projektes: December 2018

PhD project

The project investigates memory practices in digital "social media" that explicitly or implicitly address everyday life in the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany before 1990. It analyzes the extent to which digitization, the most recent episode of medialization, also produced new collective and individual memory practices after 1990. In particular, the so-called Web 2.0 with its numerous platforms for easily accessible, user-generated content is being researched as a new space and public sphere for commemorative communication.

With regard to the still ambivalent memory of the GDR, the study asks which narratives and historical images of the GDR are shared in social media and to what extent they differ from the interpretative offers of state institutions. Against the backdrop of the so-called "nostalgia wave" of the late 1970s and early 1980s in West Germany and the "Ostalgie" debate of the 1990s and early 2000s, the specificity of GDR memory practices will then be questioned and everyday memories embedded. The memory of life in the "old" Federal Republic of Germany - which has hardly been considered by research to date - serves as a comparative object. One initial hypothesis is that the (nostalgic) memory of supposedly "good old times" for the purpose of constructing individual and collective identities is not a genuinely GDR-specific phenomenon. The project investigates which narratives, political diagnoses of the present and thus identity and alterity constructions the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany use. What parallels and differences arise in relation to memory topoi (childhood, youth, national/international popular culture, consumption, working world, leisure time, home region, etc.) and media memory carriers (photos, music, mass media, etc.) against the background of the system difference before 1989 and the time after reunification?

The project was edited by Nils Theinert from 12/2018 to 02/2020.

Lea Frese-Renner

Leibniz Center for Contemporary History Potsdam
Am Neuen Markt 1
14467 Potsdam

office: Am Neuen Markt 1, room 1.29
phone: 0331/28991-79
E-Mail: frese-renner [at] zzf-potsdam.de

Forschung