East European Communities: The Struggle for Balance in Turbulent Times

By David A. Kideckel | Go to book overview

It remains to be seen if these feminist voices will be heard in "the struggle for balance in turbulent times" in rural East Germany.


Notes
Hermine De Soto would like to thank the National Council for Soviet and East European Research for its funding her ethnographic field research during 1991 and 1992 in east Germany. She is also grateful to the generous institutional support of the Women's Studies Program and the Women's Studies Research Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and to Cyrena Pondrom for her continuous encouragement. Both authors take this opportunity to express their sincerest gratitude to all women who were a part of the research project in east Germany during very difficult post-revolutionary times.
1.
The entire 1993 debate is available in document #12/2360, 12/3910: Deutscher Bundestag , 12. Wahlperiode. 149. Sitzung, Bonn, 25 March 1993. Additional information on rural women and politics is available in Bläss, 1993, which excerpts from Ms. Bläss's speech translated from German into English by Hermine De Soto. She thanks Ms. Bläss for her help and time. An additional Bundestag debate about the dismal rural situation in the new federal states was held later in 1993 between the secretary of agriculture, Mr. Jochen Borchert, and an cast German agricultural expert, Dr. Fritz Schumann. The complete information is available in #14945, Deutscher Bundestag, 12 Wahlperiode, 137. Sitzung, 9 September 1993.
2.
Up to 1952 the DR was organized into Länder (states). After the 1952 administrative reform the Länder became districts with particular cities chosen as Bezirksstädte (district capitals), each with its own district council. Under this reform, the GDR was organized into fifteen districts with capitals at: Rostock, Frankfurt/Oder, Potsdam, Cottbus, Magdeburg, Halle, Gera, Suhl, Erfurt, Dresden, Leipzig, former KarlMarx Stadt now Chemnitz, and Berlin-Ost. Since unification, a new administrative reform has been under way in which the west German [Ländermodell is being introduced. The GDR districts and capitals have been replaced with new Länder, and new Länderhauptstädte. The federal Länder or states are: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen-Anhalt, Berlin (east and west), Brandenburg, Thüringen, and Sachsen. With this change, people respond differently. Currently, the older generation still remembers the pre-1952 state organization, and the younger generation suffers from a lack of identification with the re-formed social organization. At present, a conflict is developing in regard to the reconstruction of the smallest local administrative unit, i.e. the Kreis (county), with which people often identify. It is on this level also that major local disagreements arise because drawing new administrative boundaries also shifts and reorganizes new county boundaries.
3.
During De Soto's fieldwork in February 1992 rural women from all five new states met in east Berlin to discuss Frauenarmut im Osten Deutschlands, and exchange experiences about the worsening rural situation. Some meetings and workshops were organized by Dr. Christel Panzig, with De Soto an invited participant and observer. According to our background research, there are presently no anthropological studies on rural women during the transition in east Germany. Recently, two sociologically and quantitatively oriented studies began to systematically outline emerging rural patterns and

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