Material Fantasies

Material Fantasies

By Milena Veenis
Book Description

This study of East German fantasies of material abundance across the border, both before and after the fall of communism, shows the close and intricate relation between ideology and fantasy in upholding social life. In 1989, news broadcasts all over the world were dominated for weeks by images of East Germans crossing the Berlin Wall to West Germany. The images, representing the fall of communism and the democratic will of the people, also showed East Germans' excitement at finally being able to enter the western consumer paradise. But what exactly had they expected to find on the other side of the Wall? Why did they shed tears of joy when for the first time in their lives, they stepped inside West German shops? And why were they prepared to pay more than 10 percent of their average monthly wage for a pineapple? - - >Download an excerpt. Drawing on fifteen months of research in the fast-changing post-communist East Germany, Veenis unravels the perennial truths about the interrelationships of fantasies of material wealth, personal fulfillment and social cohesion. She argues persuasively that the far-fetched socialist and capitalist promises of consumption as the road to ultimate well-being, the partial realization and partial corruption thereof, the implicit social and psychological interests underlying the politicized promises in both countries form the breeding ground for the development of materialist, cargo-cult-like fantasies, in which material well-being came to be seen as the place of - fulfillment and ultimate arrival - . Material Fantasies is published in the Technology and European History series. The series seeks to present scholarship about the role of technology in European history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For more information on the network, the Foundation for the History of Technology and the series, see: - - >

In 1989 werden de nieuwsuitzendingen over de hele wereld gedomineerd door beelden van de Oost-Duitsers die de Berlijnse Muur overstaken naar West-Duitsland. De verwachtingen waren hooggespannen, eindelijk was een veilige oversteek naar het welgestelde West-Duitsland mogelijk, maar vooral behoorden welvaart en materialisme voor Oost-Duitsers nu ook tot de mogelijkheden. Maar wat verwachtten deze Oost-Duitsers precies te vinden aan de andere kant van de Muur? Waarom waren er tranen van vreugde toen ze voor het eerst in hun leven een West-Duitse winkel binnen konden stappen? En waarom waren zij bereid om meer dan 10 procent van hun gemiddelde maandloon te besteden aan een ananas? Deze studie naar Oost-Duitse fantasieën over de materiële overvloed aan de andere kant van de muur, laat zien dat fantasie en ideologie communicerende vaten zijn, waarbij de een grote invloed heeft op het welslagen van de ander. Het boek vormt daardoor belangrijk voer voor sociologen. Material Fantasies b> verscheen in de serie Technology and European History. De serie heeft tot doel de rol van technologie in de Europese geschiedenis in de negentiende en twintigste eeuw in kaart te brengen. Voor meer informatie over de serie, bekijk: - - >

Table of Contents
  • Material Fantasies
  • Preface
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Fieldwork
  • Chapter 2 Germany 1945: A Country in Ruins
  • Chapter 3 The GDR: Future Promises
  • Chapter 4 Material Realizations
  • Chapter 5 The East German Dictatorship
  • Chapter 6 Silenced Pasts
  • Chapter 7 Western Promise
  • Chapter 8 Shattered Illusions
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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