Please take a look at the new
Journal für Soziologie
Last updated Mai. 29, 2007
English Abstracts 1997
Is the Integrative Function of the Welfare State Disappearing?
Over the long term, the welfare states of Europe can look forward to moderate economic growth at best. As this growth will be produced by an ever smaller portion of the population, an ever higher share of the national wealth will have to be redistributed to the benefit of those outside the labor force, the alternative being a drop in the standards of social services aimed at the unemployed. At the same time, we will see the autonomy of the nation-state slowly erode: growing subordination to global market developments and the shift of economic policy-making powers to the European level act as constraints on national government in those areas of social policy which are to remain in their domain.These developments are discussed here from a macrosociological perspective in terms of inclusion and societal integration. Until now the development of welfare states proved to be an evolutionary success, as social policies had complementary effects in the cultural, the political, the economic and the social dimension. There was a convergence between the three analytical dimensions of societal integration, i. e. functional interdependence, legal assignments of equal status and the morals of reciprocity. For the future, however, one has to expect divergent developments in these three dimensions, already indicated by forms of partial desolidarization. Despite the trends of globalization national states remain the focus of international competition and of the organization of social interests. Therefore national states will remain the dominant arena of socio-political conflicts as well as the main basis for securing reciprocity.
The Problem of Options Expansion. Thoughts on the Risk Culture of the Modern Era
This article sets out to expand the sociological debate over risk to incorporate aspects of cultural sociology. Proceeding from the theory of functional differentiation of society, the author shows that a culture of risk has emerged as a parallel phenomenon to the explosive increase in options available in the functional systems of economics, the sciences, politics, etc. The risk culture can to some degree be considered the negative image of this limitless field of options. The author's central thesis is that with the differentiation of subsystem perspectives for each distinct functional area, society has lost external mechanisms for blocking the expansion of options within the functional systems. The consequences of this are, on the one hand, risk-filled strategies operating within functional systems, and on the other, the next to ubiquitous anticipation of danger and harm within a culture of risk which seems to have lost its faith in the sanguine promises of the modern era. Nassehi comes to the conclusion that both the explosive expansion of options and the risk culture's anticipation of the coming cataclysm are legitimate heirs to the processes of enlightenment and demystification which are part of the syndrome labeled "modernity".
Integration through Public Awareness. On Self-observation of the Modern Society
The 28th Congress of the Deutsche Gesellschaft f,r Soziologie was held in Dresden under the heading "Differentiation and Integration. The Future of Modern Society", a title which reflects the increasing significance being attached to the topic of integration in the light of the accelerating differentiation. The question arises as to how integration in our modern society can be conceptualized without posing a threat to the very principle of differentiation which characterizes our modern society. It does not make sense to theoretically integrate modern society, which is highly differentiated but segregated, only to form a society which is integrated but no longer highly differentiated. The relationship between integration and differentiation must therefore be conceived of as augmentative and not as a zero-sum game. In this article, Hellmann works on the assumption that public awareness functions to integrate modern society and that it does so in a negative way. Negative integration is used here to mean that publicity, in confronting all the subsystems of our modern, functionally differentiated society with its own contingence, works to frustrate and check these subsystems' internal dynamics. In so doing, public awareness acts to curb degrees of freedom so that, in the concert of systems, not anything is possible, and thus the continual pressure for further differentiation is kept within the toleration limits of the modern society.
Human Rights vs. Patriotism? The Alignment of Intellectuals During the Dreyfus Affair
Although no new secrets may come to light in the Dreyfus case one hundred years after the trial against Captain Alfred Dreyfus was opened, there is still some mystery surrounding the constituent elements in the formation of intellectual groupings during the Dreyfus affair. The polarization of intellectuals into two competing camps - the "Dreyfusards" and the "Antidreyfusards" - took place across party lines and beyond the boundaries of the left-right political spectrum. The explanation for this polarization can, furthermore, not be reduced to conditional factors related to the social structures or conceptual trends of the period. This article seeks to demonstrate that only a methodical approach which links aspects of political, social and philosophical history can throw light on how intellectuals aligned themselves as the Dreyfus affair took its dramatic course. The constituent elements of the formation process are sought out by means of a constellatory analysis which accentuates the events, the legal structures and predominant values of the time and shows how these influenced, and were influenced by, the concrete actions connected with the Dreyfus case. Drawing from this historically unique constellation, Gilcher-Holtey concludes her study by presenting three generalizing theses on the formation and influence of intellectual groups.
Between political engagement and autonomy: Elements towards a sociology of intellectuals
In his article, Hillmann attempts to distinguish elements to be used in formulating a sociological definition of the Intellectual which, contrary to a purely normative approach, incorporates both the specific structural conditions as well as the unique features of intellectual practice. The implications of this idea become apparent when the approaches taken by Michael Walzer and Pierre Bourdieu are interpreted and compared. Walzer described the intellectual practice as a critical interpretation of cultural schemata and value models. This description, however, still reflects normative assumptions and a one-sided phenomenological bias towards the outstanding personal traits of intellectuals. In contrast, Bourdieu seeks to understand intellectuals and their actions by examining the structural conditions of the intellectual field of which they were a part. After looking at these concepts it is possible, considering the ambivalence between cultural autonomy and political activism, to draw a clear line between the creators of culture in general and intellectuals in particular. As members of the intelligentsia, writers, artists, etc. can be labelled critical intellectuals only when they use their symbolic authority and legitimacy to become actively involved in the political field. In conclusion, Hillmann identifies the cultural schemata, social networks and cultural organizations as the essential cognitive, communicative and institutional resources on which intellectuals find support for their symbolic strategies and political involvement.
Frame, Habitus and Discourse. Comparing Sociological Concepts of Practice and Meaning
In this contribution a comparison of three scholarly concepts of practise and meaning (frame, habitual disposition, discourse) is made. On the one hand parallels, divergencies and connectabilities of theories of meaning structures are outlined. On the other hand this contribution is concerned with the conception of psychic dispositions which correspond to social meaning structures and their contingencies. In this context diverse concepts of habitual dispositions are reduced to a common denominator.
"The Cultural Force of the Group" - Norbert Elias as a pioneering thinker of the Zionist youth movement. Two previously unknown letters from 1920 and 1921
From 1918 to 1924 Norbert Elias was one of the predominant thinkers in the Blau-Weiss Zionist Youth Union. Elias not only performed important programmatic work for the Union, he was also one of its "leaders," a role which he filled before the 1922 congress of the Zionist Organization of Germany in Kassel. Through the Blau-Weiss, Elias made the acquaintance of Erich Fromm and Leo Löwenthal in 1921. In 1922, however, an ideological dispute flared up between the group centered around Elias and Bandmann and the group loyal to Fromm and Löwenthal. Controversy arose over the questions of whether it was possible to create a new Jewish identity and what a Jewish "renaissance" should entail. Elias and Bandmann, as pupils of the neo-Kantianist Hönigswald, chose the Italian renaissance as their model, while Fromm and Löwenthal followed the neo-religious concept as preached by Martin Buber and Anton Nehemia Nobel. In the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, I discovered the papers left behind by Martin Bandmann (1900-1986), friend of the young Elias. In examining these documents, it became clear that Elias's work for the Blau-Weiss must be interpreted as having laid the groundwork for his later achievements as a sociologist. All key topics and the methods for dealing with sociological questions were developed early on within the circle of Jewish intellectuals gathered together in the Blau-Weiss organization.
Sociological Vision - stages of intellectual development for the young Elias: Breslau, Heidelberg, Frankfurt
Elias originated from the jewish milieu of the German middle-Class of the turn of the century. His early interest for science and "Bildung" were shaped at the Breslau humanist gymnasium, where he was member of a philosophical studies group. In search for their jewish national identity he joined the jewish youth movement with friends of this group, which stayed together during the world war and the following study at the Breslau university. In Elias' first publication we find yet some methodological points, which since then have got to be characteristical for his sociology: The relational thinking, - rooting in the writings of Ernst Cassirer, - which puts the relations between things and their surroundings as well as the interdependencies between human beings als social forces into the center of analytical considerations. As another typical element of Elias` sociology we find the empirical dimension in his Heidelberg disposition of the first Habilitation: The analysis of the life conditions and professional questions of the "experimenting masters" of the Italian Renaissance, who inventend the perspective, is put figurationally into contrast to the established thinkers of the university. His personal view of the street fights of the late Weimar Republic lead to his adaption of the Max Weber theorem about state and violence. This shaped his theory of the civilizing process, written in the thirties, where he looked on the state as a figurational balance of two polarized social classes.
Ideological Criticism, or Removing Ideology from Society. Karl Mannheim and Norbert Elias
Although the relationship between Karl Mannheim and Norbert Elias appears to have been one of unquestioning mutual harmony, it was in reality one characterized by a conglomerate of inconsistencies, one may even say concealed hostilities. And yet unity of purpose can be found in that principle which for each uniquely distinguishes their collaboration at university, their friendly contacts, and their academic research work, which shared a common direction. The relationship between Karl Mannheim and Norbert Elias proves on all levels to have been dominated by their will to maintain as great a distance as possible from one another, no matter how closely their paths may have come together. This is most clearly illustrated when a comparison is made of their academic approaches. It is true that the intentions of Mannheim and Elias converged in the idea of exposing the social and historical constraints in the formation of mental constructs; but this convergence served only to further accentuate the differences between the two men. While Mannheim was still carrying out cognitive criticism in the guise of empirical research work, Elias came to apply such ideological, and hence cognitive, criticism (including the demonstration of the transcendental-logical bases of mental constructs) in the opposite direction, namely as a means of determining causal relationships.
The "We-level" of Generations
This article examines the concept of generation in Elias's work. In so doing, it is found that the concept of historical generation derived from Mannheim does not fit into the blueprint of Elias's theory of the civilizing process. This has to do with specific presumptions of his process sociology. Nevertheless, the conceptual tools applied by Elias provide the means for psychoanalyzing the social in order to better understand the phenomenon of personal bonding to imagined reference groups. In this context, special focus is placed on the concept of the "we-level." Following the reconstruction of the idea of an ineluctable dialectic of individualization, suitable "we-concepts" for a "society of individuals" are sought. It is ultimately suggested that a concept of a post-national "we-identity" be derived from the generational problem.
Involvement and Detachment in Unified Germany. A reconstructive process analysis with Elias and Simmel
As the collapse of the GDR and the process of German unification were thoroughly unique occurrences of social transformation for which no nomological explanation exists, they should be reconstructed as the products of complex sociological mechanisms. To this end, it is proposed that Norbert Elias's figuration model of "the established and the outsiders" be used as the grid in mapping the political transformation process in eastern Germany. The exchange of systems in eastern Germany is a case of the rules of established/outsiders figuration, as conceived by Elias, being overturned. It is not least for this reason that the Elias model is being modified and amended primarily in order to incorporate the analytical work of Georg Simmel on the role of the "triad." The application of both sociological process models allows for the reconstruction of the interactions between various East German power groups and the West German power group and for a description of the figurations which have formed and reformed several times in the course of German unification. In doing so, it becomes clear that it was the figurational form of the east German transformation process itself that most shaped its own outcome.
Present-day Capitalism and Civilization. Looking for answers in Norbert Elias's theory of the civilizing process
Norbert Elias's theory of the civilizing process must be included among the lasting achievements of the twentieth century. Originally conceived as a notional model to describe political power struggles, the theory defined civilization as a two-stage process in which a system of state rule and monopoly on taxation is first developed and later democratized. Elias's wider assumption that economic power struggles follow the same civilization logic has as yet not been borne out. There has certainly been no true democratization of the structures of economic power and monopoly in Western society. The latest revolutions in production and information technology have shifted the internal balance of social power in favor of the business elite to the detriment of the dependent work force. At the same time, the social restraints which force the exercise of self-restraint by business and political leaders have weakened. Following decades of progress, the civilization curve for the Western social model is once again pointing downwards.
The Fall of the Federation of Free German Trade Unions: Increasing pressure to take decisions, institutionalized incapacitation and the collapse of the hierarchical organization structure
The dramatic collapse of the FDGB, the largest mass organisation of the SED, may be viewed as a domestic problem of the GDR springing from the failure to develop new forms of competence beyond those tradionally ascribed to a mass organisation. The Breakdown Syndorme of the FDGB is characterised both by the failure of the attempts the organisation undertook to transform itself into an authentic representation of interests and by the loss of legitimation suffered by plant-level FDGB organs during the early stages; the influence exerted by West German trade unions during the decisive phase of the collapse from September 1989 to the end of January 1990 is purely marginal.
Glen H. Elder Jr./Artur Meier
Troublet Times? Education and Status Passages of Rural Youth. A Cross-Cultural and Historical Comparison
This article presents some results drawn from a comparative research project among rural youth and families in Iowa (Midwest, USA) and in Mecklenburg and the Altmark (North-East Germany). Based on a theoretical framework which combines the American tradition of life course research with the East German strand of studying the way of life two problems are examined empirically: How does macrosocial change affect family life by tracing economic effects through family adaption in personal relations, especially in education and life prospects of the adolescents? And how does the younger generation in rural areas of the two countries cope with the decline of agriculture as a traditional business and a way of life either when the transition from school to work becomes increasingly difficult? By converging the crucial elements of the life-course paradigm and the configurations of the way-of-life approach special emphasis is given to theoretical perspectives of linkages between micro and macro processes and to the historical understanding of trajectories in changing societies.
Peter Hübner/Axel Gehrmann
Teachers and Social Change. Selected Findings from a 1996 Survey of Teachers in Berlin
In this contribution, the authors reconstruct the public image of the teacher in Germany over the years and hold it up to the mirror of their 1996 survey on "Experiences and Occupational Self-Concept of Teachers in Berlin", which was carried out in the framework of the DFG Research Group on "Schools and Education During the Transformation from Soviet Occupation Zone to German Democratic Republic to New Federal States". In comparing teachers from eastern and western Berlin, the authors pursued hypotheses of both convergence and divergence. The value orientation found among teachers in east and west is in many cases similar but often quite different. Factor and cluster analyses show these groups to be particularly divided in their attitudes toward integrative and selective school models. In the western part of Berlin, it appears impossible to reconcile the concepts of integration and selectivity, while in the east they have combined to become part of the standard programme. For the authors, this split reveals a divergence deserving of further study, for it may be a marker to the next stage of research in this area. Finally it is asked whether the implications of the East-West divide can be overcome through research so that we can move on to the question: How and under what circumstances can the experience gained in the new federal states following unification be transferred to the states of former West Germany?
Critical-programmatic foundation of education at school - Theodor Geiger's topicality in view of university education of teachers
In this article will be presented and discussed Theodor Geiger's consideration about university education of teachers and will be put in the general discussion about it. Therefore it will be presented background and initial thesis. Then Geiger's formal and material reflections about the social processes of instruction at school will be developed and will be placed in relation to important results of contemporary youth research. Finally the main consequences of university education of teachers will be summarized in five theses.
Karl Ulrich Mayer
James Coleman's Studies of the American Education System and How They Relate to His Theory of Action and Society
In Germany in recent years, James Coleman had his biggest impact as a rational choice theorist. In contrast, this paper examines his contributions to empirical educational sociology. His major studies in this field will be surveyed and the relative importance within his overall sociology which must be attributed to them will be argued. On this basis, the following questions will be answered. Did his theoretical work influence his empirical studies in the sociology of schools and of adolescence? If so, how? And which interconnections exist in Coleman's mathematical sociology and his role as a social policy activist?
1968: Symbol for the First Global Generation
In contrast to analyses which portray the student movement of 1968 primarily as a generational phenomenon in the context of national histories or as a consequence of structural transformations in Western industrial societies, it is here argued that the student movement represented the first global generation in history. The occurrence and concurrence of worldwide student unrest can only be explained by linking the globalization theory perspective of Tiryakian, Wallerstein and Hobsbawm with Mannheim's historical generation concept. Being a segment of the secondary elite of intellectuals at the crossroads between the political and cultural spheres, the students of the early sixties had enjoyed a privileged vantage point from which to experience the shift in zeitgeist as politicians worked toward an easing of tensions. The combination of being "youth" and of being students, a segment of society then defined by an increasingly generalized institutional paradigm, formed the social basis for the development of a global elite class within a single generation.
The Milieu in the Modern Era. On Understanding and Applying a Post-Traditional, Social Space Concept of the Milieu
This article examines the viability of a localized milieu concept which asserts persistence. With critical reference to theoretical arguments on the "second modern era", the author develops a dynamic milieu construct which incorporates two ideal-typical models which may be characterized as "supporting structures" and "threshold spaces". Through interpretation by secondary analysis of reconstructive case studies (in and around Berlin) it has been possible to empirically underscore these two milieu types. The result is a concept of "modernized" social-spacial milieus which form a bridge between globalization and localism on which new types of re-embedding are being tested.
The Commission for Research on the Social and Political Transformation in the New Bundesländer as a Model for Research Politics
In retrospect, the promotion policy and strategy of the KSPW has been a success, even if not all of the ideas of the academic council of 1990 could be realised. From a research policy viewpoint, the KSPW work has shown that a social report based on the competences of the universities can be carried out quickly, efficiently and economically. As an ad-hoc organisation, a commission such as the KSPW can integrate various political and scientific perspectives, whereby the autonomy of the university staff is of an important benefit. Promoting research and creating research domains on the other hand, are tasks that commissions can only carry out limitedly, since they have little possibilities of influencing the political order.
Work and Enterprises
Based on multiple evidence, quoted in the list of references, the article is developing three more general thesis clearly in contradiction with the dominant point of view in the first years after the reunification: (1) The influence of the structures, experiences and patterns from the past is still strong -- even years after the reunification; (2) the deindustrialisation resulting from the "renovation" of the East German economy has not been compensated by a rapid development of service economy; (3) job chances did not improve continually but have got worse after a small window of time offering new opportunities.
Occupational Careers and Social Mobility of the Unemployed in East Germany
A longitudinal inquiry has been carried out among unemployed in the New Bundesländer of Germany. The evaluation of these data as well as those of the Socio-economic Panel and the Job Market Monitor shows ambiguous tendencies of mobility with respect to the radical change of work and employment since 1989. A substantial and still increasing part of jobless people has no chance of returning into an employment. Almost always this is linked with a social way down. Those, who were able to achieve again an employment, are in general in a better social position. However, in contrast to people in business, who never had undergone unemployment, they have demonstrated a substantially higher professional as well as social mobility. Quite often the new job was linked with degradation. This is even true for people who were jobless at the very beginning of the turning period ("Wende"), when the job market was fairly favorable. When they took their new chance, they did it with substantial concessions. In the meantime their professional career is stabilised, but repercussions from their unemployment are still obvious in their job as well as with respect to their social situation. Any future research in the field of "transformation" in East Germany should focus its attention more on the fundamental changes in the work and employment system which are not limited to the Eastern part of Germany.
Inequality and Social Policy in the New Bundesländer
This article summarizes the main results of the report on "Inequality and Social Policy", prepared by the Working Group II of the Commission for Research in the Social and Political Changes in the New Bundesländer. Starting from the methodological viewpoint that the effects of the changes of the economic, social and political system should in principle be separated from the effects of reunification, the article lists the main differences between the West German and the former East German systems, and then sketches the changes resulting from the introduction of the West German social policy arrangements in the New Bundesländer. First the article describes briefly the economic development during the first five years after reunification that formed the basis for social policy. On the one hand, there was a considerable increase in overall living standards. On the other hand, it is argued that the process of catching up with West German standards will take one generation and that, therefore, considerable transfers from West to East Germany will be necessary for many years. An analysis of the income distribution shows that inequality is still lower in the East but that it is increasing sharply. Inequality of the wealth distribution is more unequal in the East, because the ownership of land and houses is much more concentrated. Among the groups that gained least or even lost by the change of the system, the unemployed and single parents stand out while pensioners were among those that gained most. On average subjective well-being in the East is still lower than in the West, and it is expected that this difference will be maintained for a long time.
Inequality and Social Policy in the New Bundesländer. System comparison and cumulative social-political perseverance
The article deals with the disparities in the interpretation of GDR society and East German attitudes by social scientists from Eastern and Western Germany and inquires into the causes of the declining acceptance of the economic system of the Federal Republic of Germany in the new German states. The essay is oriented in a conceptional framework, in which the reasons for the changes in attitudes are thought to lie in the transformation experience on the one hand, and the comparison of political and economic systems on the other. The convergence of value orientation and judgment of satisfaction in East and West Germany is not seen to result from the process of unification, but is instead interpreted to be a result of the economic situation as a whole and the contradictions inherent in the present system, which require solutions for the whole of Germany.
Baron Bernd von Maydell
The Acceptance of the Labour Law and Social Law in East Germany
When both German States unified, labour and social law of the Federal Republic of Germany -- just as all the other branches of law -- were transferred to the New Bundesländer. In the course of this process problems have arisen regarding the acceptance of the new law by the citizens in East Germany; however, every legal system depends on being approved if it is to function smoothly. The reasons for the reservations the transferred law met lie in the transformation process itself as well as in the fundamental differences existing between the law once applicable in the German Democratic Republic and the law applicable in the Federal Republic of Germany. Analysing these reasons is of importance in order to understand and overcome the problems of acceptance in Germany. In addition, this question is of interest to the development of a general theory of transformation even if the transformation in the New Bundesländer is unique of its kind.
Coming to Terms with the Past by way of the Legal System -- The Conversion of the Work and Social Orders
The article discusses the 6th of the final reports of the KSPW entitled "The Transformation of Work and the Social Order" ("Die Umwandlung der Arbeits- und Sozialordnung"). The contributors are appraised on their aims of researching what has occurred to GDR law and how it has fulfilled its function in the transformation process. It can be concluded that the report itself is a legal historical description of the work and social orders of the GDR and the regulation of transition, whereby GDR law is compared to the law of the Federal Republic of Germany. The analysis of the actual transformation law is also positioned between the work and social orders of the GDR and FRG. It can be critically assessed, that the question of what unification has meant as a legal and constitutional framework for the transformation of the work and social orders has not been wholly resolved. The various conclusions of the report are illustrated in detail on examples particulary of the law concerning resignation, procedural law and the extension of pensions.
Politics in the Unified Germany
The article begins with briefly reflecting on the genesis of the KSPW in the German Science Council in 1991. It then deals with the theoretical challenges facing the group of scholars covering the topic of "politics and administration". Three aspects deserve special mention in this context. First, the tension between the theoretical eclecticism originating from the unexpectedness and speed of the 1989/90 transitions and the need to provide at least a minimal theoretical foundation for the work of the group had to be resolved. This was achieved in two ways: by using the conceptual distinction of functional analysis into the institutional (macro), intermediary (meso) and individual (micro) level of the political system, and by considering prior work which had originated from the study of transition from authoritarian rule. Secondly, it was clear from the outset that the reports of the working group could not exclusively rely on KSPW studies; this would have been a much too narrow base. Thirdly, the impetus needs to be highlighted to look as much as possible at the processual dimension of the GDR transition.Based on these general considerations, the article then sets out to present some of the findings from the work of the KSPW group on politics and administration.
Institutional Transformation -- East Germany, Poland and Hungary in Comparison
Transformation research to date has largely disregarded the institutional adjustments in East Germany, along with a comparative analysis of other post-socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. By examining the formation and re-organisation of decentralised political and administrative structures in East Germany, Poland and Hungary (based largely on KSPW-sponsored work), the paper aims to contribute to this largely neglected area of research. In order to explore the commonalities and differences in the "founding phase" of institution building, the variance of institutional transformation along with the determining factors are examined. The constellation of common or disparant factors is designated as the specific "institutionalisation logic" of the respective transformation.
Circulation of Elites and Confidence in Institutions
Various waves of elite circulation during the last year of the GDR are distinguished and career continuation of the transition elites in unified Germany is investigated. Both, in the parliamentary and the executive elite, an almost total circulation can be observed with marked differences between delegation elites (new eastern politicians and interest group leaders on the regional level) and appointment elites in the executive and the judiciary branches of government where elite import from the western part of the country prevailed. Dissolution of central institutions of the GDR, a systematic purge, and this elite import are characteristics of the special German transition path. Secondly, the development of trust in institutions, slightly lower though in the East, is explained by the high degree of elite circulation. Furthermore, pronounced trust in legislative and executive institutions might have to do with recruiting the respective elites from the western part of the country, for they represent the new institutions and keep them under control even when carrying on with "old" rank and file members.
Stefan E. Hormuth
Consequences of the Transformation Process in East Germany on Individual Development, Education and Occupational Careers
The facets of personal development, education and career path are assessed in a life-cycle perspective. The institutions and structures affected by the transformation process of Eastern Germany, which are relevant for individuals in different phases of their biography and in transitions between phases, are regarded. During childhood, youth and adulthood varying consequences of the transformation process can be observed. Changes in educational institutions, in educational routes and occupational paths also affect parents, teachers and family. The working conditions of the reporting group are considered and open questions addressed.
Rainer K. Silbereisen
Development, Education and Occupational Careers
To provide a backdrop for a commentary on the report of the KSPW study group on "Individual Development, Education and Occupational Careers", models on the interplay between social change and personality development are first reported. This is followed by a description of the data sources utilized, which are seen as inadequate for cohort studies or even more complex longitudinal designs. Important results are reported next. First, the changes in contexts and institutions relevant for children and adolescents are characterized as a radical rearrangement of the mesosystem for development, which may result in a socialization vacuum, particularly among groups low on resources, such as single parents or those with poor qualifications. Second, the high unemployment rate has already increased the widely shared dissatisfaction with performance by government and society. Again, the social and political transformations did not affect all cohorts and quarters of life equally. The necessary value change requires time until it becomes manifest in individuals' behavior. Third, a particular outcome of social change seems to be the accentuation of preexisting individual differences in such as aspects of personality which even if maladaptive, proved to be helpful in coping with problems. The research fostered by the KSPW offers new insights into the relevance of contexts for development. More attention needs to be paid to the mediating processes, such as the family or peer group, which link social change and individual development. This should be the aim of a future wave of investigation which would also need to deal with the long-term consequences of transformation.
The Development of East German Towns and Regions: Results, Analysis and Outlook
Four central theses concerning the development of East German towns and regions are introduced in this article: 1. Through the transformation processes, the regional differences have been further accentuated. They are now clearly perceptible and affect the population more directly. 2. Due to the conditions of the German unification, particularly the priority of returning property to previous owners rather than compensating current residents along with the planning autonomy accorded to local governments for the first time, created a "planning vacuum" wherein developmental phases that endured a long time in the old Federal Republic were quickly skipped over. 3. The process of differentiation in the regions of the five new Bundesländer indicates that, as with regional development in West Germany, large disparities can be expected over a long period of time, however, at a higher level. The prospective goal of living standards of equal value will therefore not be reached for a long time. 4. Also in urban development, disparity and segregation will likely increase rather than decrease.
On the Territorial Consequences of the Transformation Process in the New Bundesländer -- Comments on the report "Towns and Regions" of the KSPW
With completion of the commendable work of the KSPW, an abundance of valuable insights into the transformation process of East Germany has been attained. After the phase of concentrating on the observations and descriptions of the status quo, it would now be desirable that further work be oriented towards developing recommendations and courses of action for political, economic and societal praxis. In doing so, territorial references should be extended and the work expanded to such relevant fields that have previously been insufficiently examined, such as transportation, ecology and sustainable development, among others. The subject of social and political change in East Germany cannot be considered completed, rather the work of the KSPW should be continued in a suitable form.
Observations in Leipzig. Three temporal distinctions with biographical references
In reviewing the transformation in East Germany differentiated local and subjective viewpoints are required in order for the processes to be understood. For this reason, an urban planner who has been active in Leipzig for over seven years, has tried to associate her biography with a significant place in East Germany. In Autumn of 1989, the second largest city of the GDR burst into the headlines. On the one hand, reports accumulated about the desintegration of the country. At the same time, the precarious situation of the city itself reached public attention. In the euphoria of unification, the city was considered a future boomtown. Concurrently, a rapid de-industrialisation as well as a suburbanisation of retail and commercial spaces was taking place. After a "leaden time" in the late 1980s, in which urban planning was countered by a pathological process of urban development, the years of 1990-91, when property lots began to function as an urban planning regulative, brought about a twofold culture shock among planners. The urban experience of the "East" was confronted with the urban concepts of the "West". A positivistic orientation of renewal and modernisation was accompanied by a drastic process of change in, and exploitation of, urban space. With receding economic activity, however, it is becoming clear that despite five years of federal investments and private initiatives, the question remains how the city can be heedfully renewed. Before the backdrop of a declining population, Leipzig is experiencing a pattern of spacial redistribution consisting of simultaneous growth and shrinkage with a suburbanisation and transformation accompanied by the signs of social erosion. The experience of dissolution and breaking apart is described by Richard Sennett as the end of welfare society. Such processes leave their traces also on the individual and may provide deja-vu experiences when compared with the 1980s in the GDR.