Kerstin Brückweh Michal Kopeček Thomas Lindenberger (Chair of the panel)

Unity or Disintegration? Experiences and Narratives of the Long (Post)Communist Transformation in Central Europe

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It is not a master narrative of political key moments of 1989/91 that we place in the centre of this section. We proceed from the assumption that it is precisely a perspective that combines structural history, experiences and expert discourses, in other words, system change, life-world and ideas, that can offer us a more comprehensive picture of societies in (post-)communist upheavals. For a long time, social scientists were seen as the experts for the transformation period. More recently, however, – and surely in part thanks to the work of Ther, Yurchak and Krapfl – a number of historical projects have taken up the study of the transformation period in various (post-)communist societies, viewing them from a long-term perspective that goes beyond the epochal break. For this reason, various projects and areas of investigation are to be presented and discussed in a comparative perspective. The focus of this section shall be structured around two guiding questions, one content and one methodology-based: (1) How did experiences on the ground relate to structural changes at the macro level, which have tended to dominate official representations? How did experts contribute to this? This question relates directly to the scrutiny of preconceptions, such as the supposed democratic or human rights-based motivations behind mass protests – for was it not already possible to identify nationalist motives? (2) How and on the basis of which sources can we research and write a ‘long’ transformation history, that is, one that starts around 1980? This question points to the hugely varying source materials before, during and after the system change, and to the challenges of combining the micro and macro levels. The aim of this section is to use shorter position papers and commentaries to identify and discuss in a nuanced manner problems of content and methodology regarding the history of various (post)communist societies.

Kerstin Brückweh (Potsdam/Tübingen) Michal Kopeček (Jena/Prag)
Ana Kladnik (Dresden)
From open to closed society? Local practices of division and integration in Serbia and Slovenia (1985-2000)
Markus Krzoska (Siegen/Gießen)
In großer Nähe so fern? Das Neben- und Miteinander im deutsch-polnisch-tschechischen Dreiländereck vor und nach dem Systemwandel von 1989
Piotr Filipkowski (Warschau/Wien)
Oral history and divided memory. Researching Polish (post)socialist transition “from below”
Adela Gjuricova (Prag)
Anja Schröter (Potsdam)
Vergemeinschaftung und Spaltung auf lokaler Ebene vor, während und nach 1989 in Ostdeutschland
Matěj Spurný (Prag/Jena)
Das Zuhause zwischen Staatsozialismus und Postsozialismus
Claudia Kraft (Siegen)
Thomas Lindenberger (Dresden)