Review: Vico Leuchte (2011). Landkommunen in Ostdeutschland. Lebensgeschichten, Identitätsentfaltung und Sozialwelt [Communes in East Germany. Life Stories, Identity and the Social World]

Julia Böcker, Alexander Leistner


In the early 1990s East Germany was characterized by massive social and individual changes. During this period numerous communes were founded as a social experiment to establish an alternative way of life. Since free formation had been harshly restricted before 1989, a wide range of communities now mushroomed. In his dissertation, Vico LEUCHTE focuses on the biographical history and social context of members before becoming part of the community. He relates individual biographies to problems and conflicts within the group. The author shows that expectations and the reality of communal cohabitation diverge, because living in a community can have a different function for each actor. However, the study does not live up to its promise of contributing to social movement research by taking a biographical research perspective. In this review, we first examine the structure of the study to highlight the author’s line of argument. In this section fundamental problems and methodical inadequacies will be discussed. We then suggest three fields of research—biographical research, community research and social movement research—for which many of the various empirical findings of the study could be informative.



commune; social movement; community; biographical research; East Germany


Copyright (c) 2012 Julia Böcker, Alexander Leistner

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