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Title: Nonconformity on the borders of dictatorship : youth subcultures in the GDR (1949-1965)
Author: Fenemore, Mark Peter
ISNI:       0000 0001 3459 1759
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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The subject of the thesis is youth nonconformity in the German Democratic Republic, with a particular focus on Leipzig in the 1950s and 1960s. The thesis contains both a political and a cultural studies analysis of what it was like to grow up in one half of a divided country subject to Communist attempts at influence and control. Assessing the competing claims on youth of the East German state, Western media and young people's own socio-cultural milieux, the first section explores the borders not just between state and society, but between East and West as well as those between the two German dictatorships. By exploring these overlaps, the thesis permits a more complex understanding of what young people experienced in terms of shifting boundaries between public and private, personal and political. The second section assesses the combined effect of the various competing influences on youth in creating widespread ambivalence, immunity and escapism. By examining both coercive and cooptive strategies for combating inner conflict, the thesis examines the limits of repression and reform in effectively dealing with youth nonconformity and situates the conflict over youth within wider debates about the nature of (and possibility of controlling) modernity. The last section of the thesis explores three, particularly important, examples of nonconformity ranging from 'respectable' nonconformity on the part of young Christians to fans of Beat music and Rock'n Roll in order to show the differences which existed in motivations for ignoring, challenging and defying the state. Theoretically, the thesis draws on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Birmingham. In assessing the nature and role played by gangs in the 1950s and early 1960s, the thesis also refers back to and expands on the work of Detlev Peukert, Eve Rosenhaft and Arno Klonne. The evidence, on which the thesis is based, ranges from official Party, Police and Stasi files to newspaper articles and interviews with former participants in Leipzig's youth subcultural scene.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: German Democratic Republic