Education and Society in Germany

By H. J. Hahn | Go to book overview

8
Trends in Education and Society
since Unification

Introduction

The initial exuberance generated by the collapse of the Berlin Wall met with a sceptical, even negative response from most intellectuals in East and West and has since been superseded by the image of the 'Mauer im Kopf' (wall in the head), signalling a widespread disillusionment or even hostility towards the actual unification process, amongst people on both sides. In addition, many critical foreign commentators voice fears of the advent of a Fourth Reich 1 or cynically view unification as a process of colonization, although any detailed discussion of the revolutionary process should dispose of the widespread myth that the revolution was initiated by West German capitalism. Nevertheless, the painful procedure of growing together has gone ahead; differences between 'Ossis' and 'Wessis', though still noticeable in political culture and social attitude, have lessened.


The Effects of the 1989 'Revolution' on the German Education System

The events of the autumn of 1989 are commonly referred to as the 'peaceful revolution', a description which renders the term 'revolution' somewhat redundant. If judged against other such upheavals, either historical or in contemporary Eastern Europe, certain peculiarities come to light. This revolution led only partially to the anticipated political and social emancipation, as the newly emerging elite soon surrendered its autonomy and sought Beitritt (accession) to its dominant Western neighbour. The revolutionary potential was inexorably subsumed within the Federal Republic's established order. Underlining this feature was the fact that a large number of the 'revolutionaries' had already embraced West Germany and toppled the system, not by climbing barricades, but by fleeing the country, thus sapping the regime of its workforce: by 9 November, when the Wall came down, more than a quarter of a million people, 1.5 per cent of the whole population, had already fled to West Germany. 2 A further peculiarity concerns the activists in this 'revolution'. Although many intellectuals, artists and church leaders voiced dissent

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Education and Society in Germany
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xi
  • 1 - The German Concept of Bildung 1
  • Notes 18
  • Textual Studies 21
  • 2 - A Period of Transition: from the Formation of the Empire to the First World War 26
  • Notes 42
  • Textual Studies 44
  • 3 - The Weimar Republic: Reform and Reaction 50
  • Notes 63
  • Textual Studies 65
  • 4 - Education and Ideology Under National Socialism 71
  • Notes 84
  • Textual Studies 86
  • 5 - Re-Education After 1945 91
  • Notes 105
  • Textual Studies 108
  • 6 - The Education System of the Federal Republic 1949-1989: the Reluctant Process of Modernization 113
  • Notes 130
  • Textual Studies 133
  • 7 - Education in the Former Gdr: Socialist Education in Theory and Practice 137
  • Notes 153
  • Textual Studies 155
  • 8 - Trends in Education and Society Since Unification 159
  • Notes 176
  • Textual Studies 179
  • Select Bibliography 183
  • Index 188
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