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Actually existing post-socialism: Producing ideological others in eastern Germany

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Anselma Gallinat



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2022. In this article I will argue that we need to continue working with and through the notion of post-socialism as long as local populations are treated as transitional. That is, as long as policy-makers, politicians, managers and academics engage with local people in the belief that their dispositions, behaviours and personhoods in the democratic present are a result of their own or their predecessors’ life in socialism, and as long as they develop initiatives that aim to counter attitudes seen to result from the state-socialist past. Taking this concept seriously in the sense that powerholders believe in ‘actually existing post-socialism’ allows us to explore not only how such perceptions come about but also their lasting effects on local populations, which is relevant to our anthropological understanding of humanity more widely. The article shows how a perception of a transition to democracy that is yet to be concluded has become intertwined with the production of all-Germany as democratic, which therefore rests upon the continuous reproduction of eastern Germans as ideological, democratically deficient others.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gallinat A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Critique of Anthropology

Year: 2022

Pages: Epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 20/04/2022

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 09/05/2022

ISSN (print): 0308-275X

ISSN (electronic): 1460-3721

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/0308275X221095932


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