Where Was the Working Class?

Where Was the Working Class? : Revolution in Eastern Germany

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In six months bridging 1989 and 1990, the German Democratic Republic underwent a transformation that took the world almost completely by surprise. Yet, unlike the revolution in Poland a decade earlier, only a small percentage of workers played a politically active role in the fall of socialism in Germany. In this unprecedented study, Linda Fuller sets out to explain why the working class was largely missing from the 1989-90 revolution. Drawing on pre- and post-revolutionary visits to East German work sites and dozens of interviews, Fuller documents workers' day-to-day experience of the labour process, workplace union politics, and class. She shows how all three factors led most workers to withdraw from politics, even while prompting a handful to become actively involved in the struggle.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 158.75 x 230 x 25.4mm | 498.95g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252024427
  • 9780252024429

Review quote

"Clearly written, crisply argued, and accessible not only to sociologists but also to historians and political scientists." - Choice "Fuller tells her central story elegantly and persuasively... A valuable contribution to the emerging story of the fall of the Berlin Wall." -- Frederick D. Weil, Contemporary Sociology ADVANCE PRAISE "Where Was the Working Class? is a fascinating and highly readable account of the process of unification from the perspective of ordinary workers in the former East Germany. Fuller is unrelenting in her insistence on viewing this historic upheaval from below, arguing persuasively that most workers were spectators rather than active participants in the drama."-Ruth Milkman, author of Gender at Work: The Dynamics of Job Segregation by Sex during World War II "This is what we've been waiting for-a book that looks at the fall of communism from the standpoint of workers and their daily lives."-Michael Burawoy, coauthor of The Radiant Past: Ideology and Reality in Hungary's Road to Capitalism "A fresh and revealing look at one of the most significant events of our time, as seen from the perspective of the 'forgotten class'-those ordinary wage earners in East Germany whose experiences under the former 'worker's state' shaped their varying patterns of participation in the revolutionary movements of 1989...Ethnographically rich and theoretically compelling, Where Was the Working Class? offers important lessons, far and wide, for students of workplace politics and class formation."-Howard Kimeldorf, author of Reds or Rackets? The Making of Radical and Conservative Unions on the Waterfront
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