Belonging in the Two Berlins: Kin, State, Nation

John Borneman, Author Cambridge University Press $65 (386p) ISBN 978-0-521-41589-7
Borneman ( After the Wall ) spent two and a half years (1986-1989) in East and West Berlin, analyzing Berliners' personal lives in light of the differing family policies propounded by their respective states. This dense, academic work may intrigue anthropologists and specialists, but the general reader will prefer more journalistic accounts. The book's most accessible chapter is its first, which examines East and West Germany's battle over how to define--and name--basic social and political categories. He suggests that East German policies aimed to redefine the nuclear family as a type of collectivep.83 , while West German policies aimed to ``restore the family to its former, honorable status'' in the traditional mode. Older East Berliners' sense of themselves as victims was shaped by the Cold War, while West Berliners easily identified with their state's goals of work and prosperity. Children in both camps often defied state ideology without challenging such basic definitions. Borneman concludes that the distinct trajectories of both societies mean that cultural reunification will be slow in a united Germany; the most appropriate analogy, he suggests, is post-Civil War Reconstruction in America. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 408 pages - 978-0-521-42715-9
Ebook - 978-0-511-60771-4
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