We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Breaking ground : marginality and resistance in (post) unification Germany.

Hörschelmann, K. (2001) 'Breaking ground : marginality and resistance in (post) unification Germany.', Political geography., 20 (8). pp. 981-1004.


Drawing on postcolonial theory and recent geographical debates on subaltern speech and marginal positioning this paper asks what the relevance of ‘place’ is for attempts to ‘transgress’ and ‘resist’ the marginalisation of (former) East Germans in (post)unification Germany. My intention is not to equate the postcolonial situation with that of East Germany after unification, but rather to engage the theoretical and political insights of postcolonial critiques to highlight the conflicts and contradictions that emerge from attempts to move ‘beyond’ oppressive binary constructions. Questions of speaking and listening, as well as seeing and being seen are attended to with a strong focus on the paradoxical places and spaces within which they come to matter in contradictory ways. How do the practices of listening/speaking, seeing/being-seen function to place particular groups in the social margin or centre of ‘(re)united’ Germany? Does ‘power’ reside less with the speaker than with the listener, or is it still important to claim voice (rather than being ‘given’ voice) as an ‘other’? The paper tries to work through some of the tensions, conflicts and concerns that have emerged from my PhD research on the construction of East German marginality through media practices, but also in German social, cultural, political and academic discourse. Perhaps the most significant of these conflicts is that of having lost one’s politically bounded place (as a GDR citizen) and yet finding oneself reconstituted in the (symbolic as well as socio-economic and political) margin of a nation that, to this date, is described as ‘divided within itself’. The sense of placelessness becomes politically relevant when ‘resistant’ or ‘transgressive’ acts are (to be) performed that have no ‘proper’ place from which to embark or in which to be staged. Similar to the post-colonial situation, where no ‘original beyond’ exists, and despite being frequently posited as a symbolically separate entity, ‘East Germans’ have no place for return, only an impossible situation of being constantly ‘out-of-place’ even in the locales that used to be ‘home’

Item Type:Article
Keywords:German unification, Post-colonial geographies, Post-socialism, Media.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
Publisher Web site:
Record Created:08 Nov 2006
Last Modified:01 Apr 2010 22:28

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitterExport: EndNote, Zotero | BibTex
Look up in GoogleScholar | Find in a UK Library