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Religion and ModernityAn International Comparison$
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Detlef Pollack and Gergely Rosta

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801665

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801665.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021

East Germany

East Germany

No Signs of a Turnaround

(p.237) 8 East Germany
Religion and Modernity

Detlef Pollack

Gergely Rosta

Oxford University Press

The case of East Germany raises the question of why religion and church, which had fallen to an unprecedentedly low level after four decades of suppression, have not recovered since 1989. The repressive church politics of the SED were undoubtedly the decisive factor in the unique process of minoritizing churches in the GDR. However, other external factors such as increasing prosperity, socio-structural transformation, and the expansion of the leisure and entertainment sector played an important role, too. In addition, church activity itself probably also helped to weaken the social position of churches. The absence of a church renaissance after 1990 can be explained by several factors, such as the long-term effects of the break with tradition caused by the GDR system, the political and moral discrediting of the church by the state security service, and people’s dwindling confidence in the church, which was suddenly seen as a non-representative Western institution.

Keywords:   East Germany, GDR, post-communism, religious decline, Protestantism, Jugendweihe, political repression, rising living standards, spare time

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