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Conclusion: Dealing With Two Masters’ Commands – Explorations Of The Complexities Of Religious Life Under A Dictatorial Regime

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Chapter Summary

This is the conclusion chapter of the book, which lays out an impressive mosaic of secular-religious conditions in the GDR, as well as of their consequences in a new setting after 1989. It shows that secularization in the GDR was neither an automatic process of religious decline nor a simple process of political oppression, but rather a process with many conflicting agents under very different conditions. It deals with the subjective religiosity of young East Germans against the background of profound secularization process during the GDR period. It also deals with church members and their recollections of their situation in the GDR. The book provides the example of three Catholic families, whose narratives stand for ideal-typical ways of making sense of their position in GDR. The semantics they refer to can be seen as basic figures of legitimation in the dictatorial state that people with a Christian background could access.

Keywords: Catholic; dictatorial state; German Democratic Republic (GDR); religious life; secular-religious conditions; secularization process; young East Germans



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