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This is not my country, my country is the GDR: East German punk and socio-economic processes after German reunification

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In this article I discuss how punk has become an instrument manifesting disloyalty to the modern German state and an expression of one’s German Democratic Republic (GDR) origin. I show how punk reflects the perception of an East/West polarization and the popular understanding that Germans of GDR origin are second-rate citizens. Thus, although couched in the anti-state rhetoric of a punk ideology, the behaviour of East German punks, I suggest, reflects attitudes shaped by the experience of the post-socialist transformation, economic restructuring and increasing unemployment. My research demonstrates that the development of youth culture should be viewed within a larger context of general socio-economic processes. According to the theories of CCCS, subcultures are rooted in their parent culture and share the same experiences and social contradictions. Research in East Germany helps to broaden this approach and indicates that youth culture under certain circumstances can also share and reflect the ideologies and norms of a parent culture.
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Keywords: East Germany; identity; ideology; punk; subculture; working class

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Tartu and University of Warwick

Publication date: 2012-11-16

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  • Punk & Post-Punk is a journal for academics, artists, journalists and the wider cultural industries. Placing punk and its progeny at the heart of inter-disciplinary investigation, it is the first forum of its kind to explore this rich and influential topic in both historical and critical theoretical terms.
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