Area Early View

Bearing the scars of change: post-socialist Poland and divided Germany

by Fiona Ferbrache

August 1961, and East and West Germany were being physically divided by soldiers of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) starting construction on the Berlin Wall, a boundary that was to be in place for 28 years (The, 2011).  As the wall was erected, families were split apart, as Evans (2011) reveals, unable to reconnect between West and East Berlin.

50 years on and Germany marked the anniversary of the Wall’s construction on 13 August (BBC News, 2011).  However, the Berlin Wall is more than a memory for some people for, as Evans (2011) reveals, it continues to impact the psychological and daily lives of many people.

There are some connections between this media article and Burrell’s forthcoming article in Area – Opportunity and uncertainty: young people’s narratives of ‘double transition’ in post-socialist Poland – where Burrell focuses on the impact that large-scale economic and social changes have had on ordinary people.  ‘Double transition’ refers to the life-course transition from childhood to adulthood (for young people during the 1990s) and the simultaneous societal changes brought about after the collapse of socialism.  Drawing on interview data, Burrell illustrates how the contemporaneity of such changes impacted heavily on her respondents (Polish migrants in the UK) through various temporal and spatial challenges.  Central to this article is a narrative of migration and settlement in a post-socialist society and, just as Evans refers to scars created as a result of the Berlin Wall, Burrell’s article deals with the scars of post-socialist change.

   BBC News Online (2011) Germany marks 50 years since Berlin Wall.  BBC News 13 August, 2011

  Burrell, K. (in press) Opportunity and uncertainty: young people’s narratives of ‘double transition’ in post-socialist Poland.  Area.

  Evans, S. (2011) The Berlin Wall sickness that lingers today.  BBC News  11 August, 2001

  The (2011) In photos: 50 years of the Berlin Wall.  13 August, 2011

1 comment

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