Sociology Index


“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!” – Ronald Reagan (1987).
Berlin Wall was a barrier of concrete and minefields built in 1961 between the eastern communist controlled sector of the city of Berlin and the western sector. Berlin wall was built at the direction of the Soviet Union to prevent migration from east to west and to minimize cultural contact between east and west Berlin. After the uprising against communism in 1989, the east German government was forced to declare free rights of emigration for all citizens.

Communism suffered a constant decline beginning with Poland, then East Germany in 1989, and finally the Soviet Union in 1991. The implementation of Solidarity in Poland, a political party wanting sovereignty from the Soviet Union, led to future separation from the USSR. - Ryan Bobst, International Affairs and German Senior Seminar, Fall 2006.

The application of Glasnost in the Soviet Union, a political policy allowing freedom of speech, permitted non-Communist governments, such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia, to break away from Soviet domination. After demonstrations by the East and West German people, East Germany collapsed thus leading to the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of East and West Germany. The building of the Berlin wall in 1961, the ensuing escape attempts, and the later collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 are all highlighted in the movie Das Versprechen (The Promise) 1995.

The Economics of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall - MANFRED TIETZEL, MARION WEBER, Universitšt Duisberg, Rationality and Society, Vol. 6, No. 1, 58-78 (1994).
The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain are explained in the context of an exit-voice framework presuming rational actors. The analysis of the costs of emigration and of political protest as instruments of autocratic rule, mobility politics, leads to interesting and surprising implications as to the general stability of dictatorial regimes.

Remembering the Berlin Wall: The Wall Memorial Ensemble Bernauer Strasse, Gerd Knischewski and Ulla Spittler - German Life and Letters 59 (2), 280–293.
A case study of the Berlin Wall Memorial site and 'Documentation Center' in Bernauer Strasse shows that remembrance of the Berlin Wall indeed has high potential for instrumentalisation in political-ideological conflicts. Several other factors have also contributed to this remembrance of the Berlin Wall, and its improvised form and content.

The influence of geopolitical change on the well-being of a population: the Berlin Wall
V Heon-Klin, E Sieber, J Huebner and MT Fullilove, Medical University of Lubeck, Lubeck, Germany. 
The history of the Berlin Wall provides a unique opportunity to examine the effects of partition on social cohesion and, by inference, on health. This ethnographic research consisted of examination of the territory formerly occupied by the Berlin Wall, interviews with Berlin residents, and collection of cultural documents related to the Berlin Wall. The separation of Berlin into 2 parts was a traumatic experience for the city's residents.

A different political forum - East German theatre and the construction of the Berlin Wall 
Laura Bradley, University of Edinburgh.
This article explores how East German theatre responded to the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. East Berlin's theatres had previously relied heavily on Western practitioners. Dramatists, directors and actors rallied in a strong public show of support for the Berlin Wall. Most dissenters fell silent, in contrast to other professionals in East Berlin.

Driving the Soviets up the Wall: A Super-Ally, a Superpower, and the Building of the Berlin Wall, 1958-61 Harrison H.M. - Cold War History, Volume 1, Number 1, August 2000, pp. 53-74(22)
For understanding the key events and dynamics of the Cold War, it is insufficient to study just the policies of the superpowers. East Germany, used direct and indirect means to persuade the reluctant Soviets to build the Berlin Wall.

A German Heimat further east and in the Baltic region? - Contemporary German film as a provocation Alexandra Ludewig, University of Western Australia - Journal of European Studies, Vol. 36, No. 2, 157-179 (2006).
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall German filmmakers have revisited their country's Heimatfilm traditions with a view to placing themselves creatively in the context of its intellectual and artistic heritage.

Symbolic Uses of the Berlin Wall, 1961-1989. Bruner, Michael S. 
Examines samples from public discourse during the period 1961-1989, which reveal several different symbolic uses of the Berlin Wall. These differences reflect the never-completed struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Inverting Images of the 40s: The Berlin Wall and Collective Amnesia. Loshitzky, Yosefa 
Source: Journal of Communication, v45 n2 p93-107 Spr 1995.
Examines images of World War II invoked in two live, international music concerts (one rock, one classical) celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall. Argues that Western television's choice of imagery represented the Berlin Wall's demise as a marker of the end of the Cold War.

Twelve Years After: The Berlin Wall as Will and Idea 
Journal Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless - Robert J. Kelly1 and Robert W. Rieber, City University of New York. The Berlin Wall at different times in its history has been demonized by Western opinion less because of its role in the Cold War tension in Europe than because of the fears and frustrations it generated within Europe. How the perceptions of Soviet communist realities were refracted through the icon of the Berlin Wall as a Cold War symbol.

"The Fall of the Wall"
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall the ORB broadcasted one of the longest documentary series in the history of television.
This provides a special opportunity for the ORB to make a significant contribution to the recollections of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The expansive German language internet site, with over 2000 pages covering background information, documents and chat rooms, is without doubt the most comprehensive archive on the fall of the Berlin Wall available on the internet.

The Berlin Wall organized Berlin and gave meaning to lives. Joseph Beuys proposed that the Wall should be made taller by 5cm so that it might have better proportions.

A Swedish woman, was so captivated by the Berlin Wall that she married it on June 17, 1979, taking Wall W. Berliner-Mauer as her name. Against those who saw the Berlin Wall as divisive, Wall W. Berliner-Mauer argues that the Berlin Wall allowed peace to be maintained between East and West.

As soldiers looked over the Berlin Wall to the other side, they saw men just like themselves, with families they loved and wanted to protect. In allowing these human relationships to take place, the Berlin Wall created a bond between men who would otherwise be faceless enemies.

But Berliner-Mauer’s love for the Berlin Wall is not abstract. She understands objects as alive and possessing souls and is sexually drawn to the Wall by its horizontal lines and sheer presence.

Collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.