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Author Glaeser, Andreas.

Title Political epistemics : the secret police, the opposition, and the end of East German socialism / Andreas Glaeser
Published Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [2011]
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xxxiii, 606 pages)
Series Chicago studies in practices of meaning
Chicago studies in practices of meaning.
Contents Understandings, politics, and institutions -- Socialism as a self-fulfilling prophecy : the party's project. From Marx to conscious social transformation ; Aporias of producing right consciousness -- Contingencies and dynamics of understanding : the theory. Constituting understandings through validations ; Dialectics in spaces of validation -- Becoming socialist men : the Stasi officers. Guardians of the party state ; Stasi culture : authority, networks, and discourses -- Disenchantment, disengagement, opposition : the dissidents. When someone's Eden becomes another's purgatory ; Forming groups, organizing opposition -- Policing understandings : reproducing misunderstandings. Attempting to know and control the opposition -- Paralyzing uncertainties
Summary <DIV></DIV> What does the durability of political institutions have to do with how actors form knowledge about them? Andreas Glaeser investigates this question in the context of a fascinating historical case: socialist East Germanys unexpected self-dissolution in 1989. His analysis builds on extensive in-depth interviews with former secret police officers and the dissidents they tried to control as well as research into the documents both groups produced. In particular, Glaeser analyzes how these two opposing factions understanding of the socialist project came to change in response to countless everyday experiences. These investigations culminate in answers to two questions: why did the officers not defend socialism by force? And how was the formation of dissident understandings possible in a state that monopolized mass communication and group formation? He also explores why the Stasi, although always well informed about dissident activities, never developed a realistic understanding of the phenomenon of dissidence. Out of this ambitious study, Glaeser extracts two distinct lines of thought. On the one hand he offers an epistemic account of socialisms failure that differs markedly from existing explanations. On the other hand he develops a theorya sociology of understandingthat shows us how knowledge can appear validated while it is at the same time completely misleading
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Germany (East). Ministerium für Staatssicherheit.
Socialism -- Europe, Eastern.
Socialism -- Germany (East)
Germany (East) -- Politics and government.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0226297950 (electronic bk.)
9780226297958 (electronic bk.)