Workshop 3

East Germany – fragmented development

Since the upcoming of ‘transformation research’ and the official commission for the ‘investigation into the social and political changes in the new Federal states’ (KSPW) East Germany is seen as one of the best researched regions. However, the ‘Reconstruction East’ (Aufbau Ost) still seems a bit of a closed book. Ever so often we read about shining examples: Enterprises operating successfully on the world market, with rising turnover, writing black figures and enlarging their workforce. We learn about important infrastructure projects like the opening of the Baltic Sea motorway. Visitors applaud the successful renovation of many beautiful historical city centres and tourists go into raptures about spas and castle hotels.

However, at the same time we read a lot of bad news: The young and the old waiting at employment agencies; former engineers picking up stubs in the city park; enterprises on an upward trend getting no loans; population decline leaving black holes in villages, towns and councils’ coffers. A gloomy mood seems to have gripped the country, while rightwing youngsters threaten foreigners and handicapped people ‘Fragmented development’ is the heading under which not just the juxtaposition but also the nexus of ‘light and shadow’ in East Germany’s development will be uncovered, discussed and utilized for socioeconomic reporting about the changes the German economic and social system is undergoing.


This simultaneity of upward and downward trends, integration and exclusion, success and frustration – are these the patterns of a third modernity to which the East belatedly set out, and might arrive earlier? Or are we still struggling with the consequences of a ‘privileged transformation’? What does East Germany teach us about all-German and European scenarios of change and about survival in times of upheaval?

Unemployment in the order of 20 percent has lead to a special modus of ‘insecure labour participation’. More than one third of the labour force is ‘highly flexible’, switching between employment and unemployment benefit, one-euro-jobs and retraining courses; they form the cheap reserve for the labour supply in line with the market. Is the work society breaking up or is the East experiencing the metamorphosis towards a new working world? ‘As far as wheels can roll’ commuters and work immigrants wander behind jobs and training positions. Those who do not want to stay back lack time for children and families. Prospering business-parks and right next to them the social ghettos of the superfluous – but also the sponsored projects of the ‘space pioneers’: ‘Prince-Pückler-County and Pommerania, ‘culture barns’ and ‘art in the storehouse’, Feropolis and children’s villages. Regional planning is the question after a new order of the social in an aging and shrinking society. From demolition towards a new start – but who knows the necessary conditions?

(Rainer Land, Andreas Willisch, Ulrich Busch) April 11th/12th, 2006, Berlin

Results (German)
Flyer PDF
Diskussionspapier PDF
Pressemitteilung PDF
Ergebnisbericht PDF
Lectures (German)
Rainer Land: Ostdeutschland - Fragmentierte Entwicklung PDF
Thomas Hanf: Integrationsdefizite und Handlungsorientierungen PDF
Ulrich Busch: Transfergesellschaft Ostdeutschland PDF
Joachim Ragnitz: Transfergesellschaft Ostdeutschland (Koreferat) PDF
Klaus-Peter Buss: Fragmentierung - eine richtige Perspektive? PDF
Holger Alda: Sekundäre Arbeitsmarktintegration PDF
Friedrich Hauss: Risikolagen im ländlichen Raum PDF
Christine Steiner: Demografie und Erwerbseintritt der Jüngeren PDF