Differences in temporal reasoning: the future of the past, moral education and generational clashes in an East German town
Felix Ringel (Durham University)
The problems Hoyerwerda, the GDR's 2nd Socialist Model City and Germany's fastest shrinking town, faces seem at first unrelated to concerns with the past since they dominantly relate to the future. Surprisingly, contemporary future concerns excite many conflicting accounts of very different pasts. I try to indicate the multiplicity and simultaneity of local temporal concerns and their respective practices by focusing on two aspects: The internal politisation of the local youth and the conflicts that emerged in particular school projects aiming at their moral education. Both sets of material exhibit contradictory forms of temporal reasoning. Outcomes of the institutionalized attempts of the so-called "Demokratieerziehung" (democracy-education), such as the competitive GDR-commemoration project "To Future Belongs Commemoration", remain, however, indeterminate. Clashes between the project-organizers and participants illustrate in how far very different, unexpected temporal aspects predominantly structure social relations amongst and between different generations.
Recasting pasts and futures: imagination and belonging across generations in Europe