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A Reversal of Fortunes?

A Reversal of Fortunes?

Rachel Alsop


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German unification brought fundamental, often traumatic changes for the people in eastern Germany. Women as a group were arguably more deeply affected by the changes than any other, and in one area in particular: that of work, which had far-reaching effects on them and their families' economic situation. Rachel Alsop critically examines the processes behind women's changing relationship to the labor market in eastern Germany following the collapse of state socialism and the transition to a market economy. By the 1980s women made up virtually half of the East German work force. The collapse of the GDR transformed the field of work, drastically diminishing the general demand for labor. Yet while economic and political restructuring reduced the volume of both male and female employment, it was women who bore the brunt of unemployment. In the immediate transitional period a re-masculinization of the workforce was evident, with women constituting the large part of the unemployed.

Using an extensive range of both quantitative and qualitative data, the author explores the gender dynamics of the social, economic, and political restructuring of eastern Germany, thereby producing an important new context in which to examine contemporary debates on gender and work.

Rachel Alsop is Lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Hull.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Title Page iii
Copyright Page iv
Table of Contents v
List of Tables vi
List of Figures vii
Acknowledgements viii
Abbreviations ix
Glossary x
Chapter 1. Introduction 1
Chapter 2. Rhetoric and Reality 19
Chapter 3. The Unification Process 43
Chapter 4. Changing States 57
Chapter 5. The 'Defeminisation' of Waged Labour 85
Chapter 6. Linking the Local and the Global 117
Chapter 7. Hearing Voices 155
Chapter 8. Conclusions 185
Bibliography 197
Index 218