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East German museums of everyday history as depots for the nostalgic object

  • Maria BrockEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

This article centres on two East German museums exclusively dedicated to the storage and display of everyday items produced in the German Democratic Republic between 1949 and 1989, locating both in the context of similar ‘memory museums’ of East German history, as well as history museums more generally. Examining these sites, the text investigates the types of relationships established with these artefacts of the past, analysing their function as mediators between the inner and outer world, and between memory and history. Taking nostalgia theory and specifically Ostalgie as a starting point for the analysis, it reflects on how the museums serve as containers for a multitude of objects both fantasmatic and material. The aim is to inject nostalgia theory, especially in its focus on materiality, with more distinctly psychosocial ideas and concepts. In order to understand whether there is a finality to the psychic and political transitions that took place after 1989, nostalgia’s link to a utopian politics of the future, rather than to a contested past, is addressed throughout.

Keywords

nostalgia museums East Germany Ostalgie post-socialism 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank Prof. Robyn Autry, Prof. Christine Evans, Prof. Johan Fornäs and Ingrid Forsler, as well as the anonymous reviewers, for their extremely helpful comments on previous versions of the text.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Baltic and East European StudiesSödertörn UniversityHuddingeSweden
  2. 2.School of Journalism, Media and CultureCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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