Accepted Paper:

The New Berlin, the contribution of the spirit of capitalism in the reshaping of the city  


Marie Hocquet (Université Jean Monnet)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I show how the reshaping of Berlin contributes to convey values and standards particular to capitalism. Then I underline, for the East Berliners, many ways available to reconsider the capitalism and to adapt themselves to the reorganizations consecutive to the reunification.

Paper long abstract:

Since the reunification, the territory of Berlin is the object of a plural staging. This staging comes with the transformation of Berlin into a centre of economic and political power. It also takes place in order to increase the attractive character of the city, in terms of tourism and demography. Manipulation of urban landscape in the east part of Berlin also aims at making the enforcement of a liberal and democratic order as well as making visible the transition to a capitalist system after the reunification.

In this context, ex-citizens of GDR are supposed to adopt the ways of thinking and the ways of doing inherent to capitalism. This conversion is commonly expressed in terms of change of mentality and hardly leaves place to the recognition of an East German identity.

In this paper, I will consider the urban space as a support on which the capitalist model establishes itself. With the example of Berlin, I show how the reorganization of the urban space (constructions ex nihilo, rehabilitation, removal of traces of the past, etc.) contributes to convey values and standards particular to capitalism. Then, I will explain how the East Berliners react, answer and adapt themselves to the changes generated by the disappearance of GDR and the imposition of a capitalist way of life through the development of the "new Berlin".

Panel W033
Anthropology of policies and ideology of capitalism in the EU