German Unification as a Turning Point in East German Women's Life Course: Biographical Changes in Work and Family Roles

German Unification as a Turning Point in East German Women's Life Course: Biographical Changes in... In order to explore the effects of German unification on the life course of East German women of three age cohorts, 36 biographical interviews were conducted. The purpose of the research was to examine whether unification meant a complete break with the German Democratic Republic's (GDR) standard biography in terms of a voluntary acceptance of West German patterns, or a modification of old patterns based on necessity. Results demonstrate that the historical moment of 1989/90 (the Wende or turning point) has changed the life plans of the three cohorts of women in East Germany in different ways, depending on its timing in their life course. The life patterns of the youngest cohort differ most significantly from the standard biography of the “GDR woman” in that family formation is postponed and employment prioritized over family. Rather than being a complete break with tradition and a voluntary adoption of Western norms, this means a modification of the life course, because the desire to combine work and family continues to dominate. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

German Unification as a Turning Point in East German Women's Life Course: Biographical Changes in Work and Family Roles

Sex Roles , Volume 47 (2) – Oct 13, 2004
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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1020635804707
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In order to explore the effects of German unification on the life course of East German women of three age cohorts, 36 biographical interviews were conducted. The purpose of the research was to examine whether unification meant a complete break with the German Democratic Republic's (GDR) standard biography in terms of a voluntary acceptance of West German patterns, or a modification of old patterns based on necessity. Results demonstrate that the historical moment of 1989/90 (the Wende or turning point) has changed the life plans of the three cohorts of women in East Germany in different ways, depending on its timing in their life course. The life patterns of the youngest cohort differ most significantly from the standard biography of the “GDR woman” in that family formation is postponed and employment prioritized over family. Rather than being a complete break with tradition and a voluntary adoption of Western norms, this means a modification of the life course, because the desire to combine work and family continues to dominate.

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 13, 2004

References

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