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Twenty-Ninth International Conference of Europeanists. Europe's Past, Present, and Future: Utopias and Dystopias

Referentin: Dr. Maren Hachmeister
27.06.2023 - 09:00 Uhr
University of Iceland (Reykjavik)

Beschreibung der Veranstaltung

The German right-wing populist party “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) opposes diverse family lifestyles by promoting the return to a family model of father, mother, and children. This “Narrative of Return” mainly paves the way for the party’s anti-gender, anti-childlessness, and anti-immigration agendas.

The article examines how narratives on families as promoted by AfD reflect or address experiences of the post-socialist transformation in East Germany. It turns out that Narratives of Return (NoR) overlook the elderly as acting individuals and disregard the ways they engage in their families, and how they continue to organize their lives autonomously in old age. NoR rather depict older people as an anonymous group of supposedly undeserving retired, who benefit from society and family without having any function in them. However, discourses on care for the family can be traced down to a micro-level that confirms how care for the family is, in fact, care for older people.

The article presents two selected life-stories of high-aged East Germans, in order to substantiate this claim. The life-stories reveal that older people themselves believe in various notions of family, despite being served with NoR in recent past. Experiences in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) even seem to prevent older people from again falling for totalizing schemes that order and prescribe uniform (family) experience. Consequently, it is not to be expected that NoR will succeed in closing discourses on care for the family easily.

The paper is a part of the panel "Who cares for families? Narratives of Return in Postsocialist Europe", which was applied for in the framework of the COST Action 18119 "Who cares in Europe?".

Zwei ältere Menschen sitzen an einem Tisch, auf welchem eine Zeitung liegt.

Borchert, Christian "Berliner", 1981