Conceptualizing the GDR — 20 Years After
Author: Kohl, Katrin
Source: Oxford German Studies, Volume 38, Number 3, 2009 , pp. 265-277(13)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:This article explores the role of metaphors in the processes of conceptualizing the GDR on the occasion of the anniversary of its beginning and end. It offers snapshots of how the state gains cognitive shape in a range of texts and media — a series of historical TV documentaries, a work of fiction, a museum, an autobiographical work, a politically oriented collection of essays, and a newspaper article reporting on a public debate. Metaphors are shown to structure the concept of the GDR — as a container defined by its boundaries, as part of an organic entity, or as a narrative. They allow erstwhile GDR citizens to engage with their personal past and they give substance and communicative power to political ideals. In activating the imagination, they make memories meaningful. And for those who never experienced life in the GDR first-hand, metaphors give mental access to life in the 'other' Germany.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Jesus College, Oxford
Publication date: 2009-12-01