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Last updated Mai. 29, 2007


English Abstracts 1992

English Abstracts 1992
Edition 2/1992

Claus Offe
Coming to terms with Past Injustices: An Introduction to Legal Strategies Available in Post-Communist Societies

In all post-communist regimes, it is evident that the actors of the old regime have committed acts which call for sanctions, or at any rate for critical judgement and evaluation, under the new regime. A general amnesty for these actors and acts or, for that matter, a policy of amnesia (a contradiction in terms anyway) would not appear acceptable to the new political elites, and it would be vehemently protested by the mass of the people. It would also allow people to move into leadership positions whose involvement in the former regime makes them liable to blackmail through the threat of exposure. Something must be done.

Manfred Gehrmann
"Here everyone lives more for himself..." - On social integration of migrants from East- to West-Germany into the old FRG and West-Berlin

On the basis of data from a questionnaire, the article tries to correct the up to now dominant view by Pratsch/Ronge, that the migrants from East to West Germany suffer a widespread social isolation from the West-Germans because of their materialistic disposition (as defined by Inglehart). Rather than that they estrange their West-German fellow workers by being overzealous, our data in contrast show, that - at least in the beginning - they are surprised by the amount of competition they find among them. Especially in the sphere of work there seems to have been dominant in the GDR an orientation to what Tönnies has called "Gemeinschaft". To account for the problems, that some of the migrants have, in establishing private relations with West-Germans, it is proposed to see them in connection with a more advanced stage of the process of societal individualization in the West, especially a more advanced "pluralization of life-styles". Now that the social security at the old workplaces in the GDR no longer exists and the individualizing dynamic of the labour-market (Beck) has taken its place for most of the former GDR-citizens, an interesting empirical question is, how long the old "Gemeinschaft"-oriented habitus (Bourdieu) can survive.

Rainer Paris
Half-belief - a concept from the sociology of knowledge based on paradoxial social experience

The article develops the concept of half-belief in an attempt to describe the fundamental inner contradiction and inauthenticity of experience in ideologized interaction situations (public movements, ideologically "monolithic" societies) and to illustrate a number of its facets. "Half- belief" is taken to mean an antinomic consciousness, a coexistence of belief and disbelief. A half-believer is someone who maintains his identity by suppressing his doubts and disbelief and forces himself into believing. The second half of the article looks at the typical attitudes, patterns of behaviour and perception strategies associated with half- belief.

Gabrielle Balazs and Jean-Pierre Faguer
Company without paternalism? How meriocratic companies treat familiy life

The monograph dealing with a multinational company from the information technology sector displaying in concentrated form all the distinctive features of a "meritocratic" style of personnel management (overqualified staff even in the simplest of jobs, close contacts with educational institutions, in- service training as a major element of raising social status) reveals a number of differences as compared to the traditional model based on family policy: national or international recruitment system instead of a "regional" sponsorship and recruitment system based mainly on family and neighbourhood contacts; a career policy which ignores the employees' family life, viewing them as individuals without family ties; a demographic structure centred on employees of about 35 years - an age when no more offspring are to be expected in most cases - with a small number of children; a high proportion of unmarried employees and very few nearing retirement age; finally, the lack of any personnel structure to deal specifically with family or health problems - e..g. the company does not employ any welfare staff. In 1992 it is planned to extend the model and define it more precisely on the basis of interviews conducted in other Grenoble companies selected for their size, age and type of product in order to illustrate the impact of these companies' demographic policy on the careers of their staff. Particular prominence will be attached to a comparison of how the said companies react to family problems connected with an ageing workforce such as the constitution of larger families, the practice of mothers taking several years leave to care for their small children, divorces and the conflicts resulting from rivalry between the sexes.

Friedhelm Wolski-Prenger
Unemployment Organisations in Germany - Origin, network, perspectives

Based on an empiric study the author presents the manifold unemployment organizations in West and East Germany, their origin, first steps to cooperation and their potential perspectives of development. The author traces the development of the West German projects for the unemployed (Arbeitslosenprojekte, ALP) which split up into the ecclesiastical, the autonomous/independent and the unionist branch. He also outlines the origin and rapid development of the union for the unemployed in Germany (Arbeitslosenverband Deutschland, ALV), whose aim has been to safeguard the interests of the unemployed in the former GDR. Wolski-Prenger describes the obstacles to a cooperation of East and West German unemployment organizations. Some obstacles result from the different aims ALP and ALV want to achieve. Most obstacles, however, result from problems of organization. These problems are mainly consequences of the psyco-social implications of unemployment.Are the unemployed able to organize? To find an answer, the author discusses the theory of political conflict by Offe and sums up the results of the social-psychological studies on unemployment. In opposition to the sociological mainstream Wolski-Prenger believes that an effective representation of the unemployed is possible. Finally he gives the terms for the existing unemployment organizations to achieve this effective representation.

Sibylle Hübner-Funk
Quo vadis, European youth? Visions of its "European identity"

With regard to both the 1993 initiation of the EEC-"single market" as well as the necessity for the establishment of a "common European house" after the last years` drastic political and economic revisions of the European post-war order the "European", i.e. supra-nationally shared, mentalities of Western-European youth are discussed under different aspects. The "Young Europeans" of the EEC-countries, who actually make up the nucleus of the European youth-scenery, are a highly important, but not fully controllable risk-potential within this two-fold European integration program, because of their status as factors of educational as well as of social mobility and value change processes. By discussion of some selected results of recent "Eurobarometer"- and EEC youth- surveys it is shown that European citizens of whatever age do not dispose of many commonly shared cultural and political values. This, too, applies to the general acceptance of the EEC-bureaucracy as a "corporate identity": there is a massive discrepancy between the actual power of the economic plannification bodies and the elements of the collective "European" self-concept of the population. The resulting chances and risks of an East-West "system-convergence", i.e. of the second democratization and modernization of Europe, are finally condensed to a visionary outlook on the future perspectives of this post-socialist continent and the demands with which its youth cohorts will have to cope.