“I am East German” - How an East German identity is experienced and defined by the generation born after reunification
Sammanfattning: The increased success of right-wing movements and populist parties in East Germany since 2015 led to a public debate about the East and the people who live there. An increased number of young East Germans are now participating in talks and debates about the East, addressing the regions´ problems and challenges but also trying to counter argue its negative image (Engler and Hensel 2018a, 9). This study focuses on how an East German identity is experienced and defined by the generation that was born after the German reunification in 1990. Using identity and narrative identity theory as well as the concept of othering and the internal orientalism theory, this thesis shows that the generation born after 1990 actively experiences being East German and critically engages with it. Public perception and negative media narratives are said to be the factors contributing the most towards the formation of an East German identity; however, the feeling of belonging to the East because of family history that is passed on through intergenerational narratives and connection to place play an important role as well. An East German identity for the generation born after 1990 can also be characterised through an increased political and social engagement within the region.
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