The Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin after 1989

Dietze, Antje

The study of Antje Dietze aims at analyzing the special contribution of artistic practice in the post-socialist transition in Germany after 1989. The study concentrates on the Volksbühne theater in East Berlin as a case study. Like all East-German state subsidized theaters, it faced several challenges in the transition process, above all those of surviving as an institution, finding new legitimation in a changed political context and adapting to the mechanisms of the cultural market. The Volksbühne became well-known not only for doing so very successfully, but also for addressing the social, political and cultural conflicts in post-unification Germany in a very provocative and aesthetically innovative way. Due to its semi-autonomous position in society and to specific aesthetic techniques of producing ambiguities and of modeling unresolved social and political problems, the Volksbühne could become a space integrating – but not at all harmonizing – very different kinds of social milieus, political views and high- and lowbrow cultures from Eastern and Western Germany. The PhD project is supervised by Matthias Middell and will continue in 2011.