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The disintegration of a socialist exemplar: discourses on urban disorder in Alexanderplatz, Berlin

Weszkalnys, Gisa (2007) The disintegration of a socialist exemplar: discourses on urban disorder in Alexanderplatz, Berlin. Space and Culture, 10 (2). pp. 207-230. ISSN 1206-3312

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1206331206298552

Abstract

A large public square in Berlin's eastern part, Alexanderplatz was rebuilt in the 1960s as an exemplar of socialist planning. In the 1990s, it became a problem for urban planners and ordinary Berliners. Drawing on ethnographic material, the author offers a multifaceted account of how disorder is experienced, governed, and materialized in Alexanderplatz. Talk about disorder has provided a way of discussing the dislocations accompanying unification and the vanishing of a socialist ideal. But it may also be understood as a commentary on the perceived failures of government and the social. These discourses involve two distinct conceptions of “society” and “the social.” One is a familiar notion of the social as a problem space; the other is a utopian notion of society as an unattained ideal, characteristic of state socialism. The author suggests how attempts to create order, such as the new design proposed for Alexanderplatz, can appear to produce the disorder they proclaimed to contain.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://sac.sagepub.com/
Additional Information: © 2007 Sage Publications
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2013 15:46
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2021 00:13
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/48339

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