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Envisioning socialism : television and the Cold War in the German Democratic Republic / Heather L. Gumbert.

By: Gumbert, Heather L.
Material type: TextTextSeries: JSTOR eBooks.Social history, popular culture, and politics in Germany: Publisher: Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, [2014]Description: 1 online resource : illustrations.Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9780472120024; 0472120026; 1306463637; 9781306463638.Subject(s): Television and politics -- Germany (East) | Television -- Social aspects -- Germany (East) | Television broadcasting -- Germany (East) -- History | Socialism and societyAdditional physical formats: Print version:: Envisioning Socialism.DDC classification: 302.23/45 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook. Summary: "Envisioning Socialism examines television and the power it exercised to define the East Germans' view of socialism during the first decades of the German Democratic Republic. In the first book in English to examine this topic, Heather L. Gumbert traces how television became a medium prized for its communicative and entertainment value. She explores the difficulties GDR authorities had defining and executing a clear vision of the society they hoped to establish, and she explains how television helped to stabilize GDR society in a way that ultimately worked against the utopian vision the authorities thought they were cultivating. Gumbert challenges those who would dismiss East German television as a tool of repression that couldn't compete with the West or capture the imagination of East Germans. Instead, she shows how, by the early 1960s, television was a model of the kind of socialist realist art that could appeal to authorities and audiences. Ultimately, this socialist vision was overcome by the challenges that the international market in media products and technologies posed to nation-building in the postwar period. A history of ideas and perceptions examining both real and mediated historical conditions, Envisioning Socialism considers television as a technology, an institution, and a medium of social relations and cultural knowledge. The book will be welcomed in undergraduate and graduate courses in German and media history, the history of postwar Socialism, and the history of science and technologies"-- Provided by publisher.
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Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
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PN1992.3.G4 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3998/mpub.5732195 Available ocn871189706

Print version record.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

"Envisioning Socialism examines television and the power it exercised to define the East Germans' view of socialism during the first decades of the German Democratic Republic. In the first book in English to examine this topic, Heather L. Gumbert traces how television became a medium prized for its communicative and entertainment value. She explores the difficulties GDR authorities had defining and executing a clear vision of the society they hoped to establish, and she explains how television helped to stabilize GDR society in a way that ultimately worked against the utopian vision the authorities thought they were cultivating. Gumbert challenges those who would dismiss East German television as a tool of repression that couldn't compete with the West or capture the imagination of East Germans. Instead, she shows how, by the early 1960s, television was a model of the kind of socialist realist art that could appeal to authorities and audiences. Ultimately, this socialist vision was overcome by the challenges that the international market in media products and technologies posed to nation-building in the postwar period. A history of ideas and perceptions examining both real and mediated historical conditions, Envisioning Socialism considers television as a technology, an institution, and a medium of social relations and cultural knowledge. The book will be welcomed in undergraduate and graduate courses in German and media history, the history of postwar Socialism, and the history of science and technologies"-- Provided by publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Gumbert's thesis is that East German television was not primarily a propaganda machine to defend a dictatorial socialist regime--which is the stereotypical view of the medium in the GDR. Gumbert (history, Virginia Tech) argues that television was entertaining because if it had not been, it would not have drawn a significant audience and so would have had little impact. She considers the divided nature of television administration and examines the tendency of many political leaders in the GDR to ignore the medium because they were unfamiliar with it and so had little interest. The author argues that two crises, in particular, resulted in increased emphasis on television in the GDR: the Hungarian uprising of 1956 and the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Gumbert provides a number of examples of television programming aimed at expanding the audience, programming with little emphasis on socialism. The book is thoroughly documented, with extensive footnotes and bibliography, but Gumbert's uneven writing style and organization make the book difficult to follow in places. In addition, coverage of post-1961 developments is sparse. --Paul H. Scherer, Indiana University at South Bend

Author notes provided by Syndetics

<p> Heather L. Gumbert is an Assistant Professor of History at Virginia Tech.</p>

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