The Transformation of the East German Shipbuilding Industry between Economics, Politics, and Society


In her project, Eva Lütkemeyer focuses on the privatization and restructuring process in the East German shipbuilding industry between 1989/90 and 1994 and its effects on the region, its companies, and the living realities of the people there. Shipbuilding was one of the “industrial cores” with over 55,000 workers by the end of the GDR, whose jobs needed to be saved, at least from a sociopolitical perspective. The transformation of shipbuilding in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern thus developed into a politicized period of mass privatization in which the Treuhandanstalt was only one of many actors involved. Moving beyond a macro level approach focused solely on the political and economic actors, the transformation is understood here to be a process with a profound effect on social structures as well. The project presupposes that the companies of the shipbuilding industry constituted a locus of transformation as well as a central experiential space, through which one can demonstrate the extent to which personal life plans and social practices were affected by political and economic structural changes, and the scope of their effects on the system of values and individual and collective identities.

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