Veenis, Milena.

Material fantasies : expectations of the Western consumer world among the East Germans / Milena Veenis. - Amsterdam : Amsterdam University Press, 2012. - 1 online resource (280 pages) : illustrations. - JSTOR eBooks Technology and European history series ; 6 . - Technology and European history series ; 6. .

Includes bibliographical references (pages 265-275) and index.

Fieldwork -- Reactions to my presence -- Material culture and tell-tale one-liners -- Generalization, differentiation -- Germany 1945: a country in ruins -- material and social trauma -- In search of a hold -- The GDR: future promises -- The past rewritten -- A new future: material well-being -- Material realizations -- Severe, rational and centrally planned -- "Far too modern for our people," and economic gaps -- Queuing and mutual equality -- The east German dictatorship -- Theorizing dictatorship -- Local conversations on dictatorship -- Irony, a caring state, and the Nische -- Silenced pasts -- Different perspectives and jokes about the stasi -- The stasi's methods and the taboo on more -- Egalitarianism, crab antics, and adjustment -- Western promise -- Irresistible prosperity -- East Germans' identification with the west -- The material as fulfillment -- Shattered illusions -- The wende -- East Germans' dissatisfaction -- Three reasons for east German despondency -- Conclusion.

"This study of East German fantasies of material abundance across the border, both before and after the fall of communism, shows the close and intricate relation between ideology and fantasy in upholding social life. In 1989, news broadcasts all over the world were dominated for weeks by images of East Germans crossing the Berlin Wall to West Germany. The images, representing the fall of communism and the democratic will of the people, also showed East Germans' excitement at finally being able to enter the western consumer paradise. But what exactly had they expected to find on the other side of the Wall? Why did they shed tears of joy when for the first time in their lives, they stepped inside West German shops? And why were they prepared to pay more than 10 percent of their average monthly wage for a pineapple? Drawing on fifteen months of research in the fast-changing post-communist East Germany, Veenis unravels the perennial truths about the interrelationships of fantasies of material wealth, personal fulfillment and social cohesion. She argues persuasively that the far-fetched socialist and capitalist promises of consumption as the road to ultimate well-being, the partial realization and partial corruption thereof, the implicit social and psychological interests underlying the politicized promises in both countries form the breeding ground for the development of materialist, cargo-cult-like fantasies, in which material well-being came to be seen as the place of "fulfillment and ultimate arrival"."--Publisher's website.

9048515653 9789048515653

22573/ctt45shw0 JSTOR

Post-communism--Germany (East)
Consumption (Economics)--Germany (East)
Quality of life--Germany (West)
Quality of life--Germany (East)

HC290.795.C6 / V44 2012