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The Culture of German Environmentalism

The Culture of German Environmentalism: Anxieties, Visions, Realities

Edited by Axel Goodbody
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    The Culture of German Environmentalism
    Book Description:

    Though much has been written about the Green Party in Germany, less is known about the changes in individuals' attitudes towards the environment that led to the rise of environmental movement, or of its cultural roots. This volume draws attention to the breadth of environmentalism in contemporary Germany and its significance for German political culture by focusing on the treatment of "green" issues in literature, the media and film, against the background of Green politics and the environmental movement. The volume includes an interview with Carl Amery, the Bavarian Green and science fiction writer, a short text by him and an account of his activities as writer and campaigner.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-605-6
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Axel Goodbody

    This book differs from existing political and sociological studies of Environmentalism in Germany in its focus on the culture of the environmental movement. Besides including up-to-date assessments of environmentalism as a social movement and a political force, it is also concerned with explaining its prominence in German political culture. On the one hand, it points to the collective memory and imaginary accumulated in layers of cultural tradition through words, images and events. The responses to modernisation of generations of cultural critics and their conceptions of nature are significant factors impinging on environmental concern. On the other, it asks how contemporaries’...

  6. PART I From the Practitioner’s Standpoint:: Promoting Environmental Awareness in Twenty-First Century Germany

    • Chapter 1 Eco-Journalism
      (pp. 3-12)
      Jürgen Krönig

      InThe Fading of the Greens(Bramwell 1994) Anna Bramwell predicted the decline of environmental politics in the industrialised countries of the West. The title of her book could serve as a telling metaphor for the plight of Green journalism as well. If and when the Green movement is in crisis, or even in decline, journalism is affected by this development too. The German Greens are presently going through one of the most difficult times since their beginnings in the 1970s. This may seem a strange statement in view of the fact that they have never held more political power...

    • Chapter 2 Lianas Across the Jungle: An Interview with Carl Amery
      (pp. 13-30)
      Axel Goodbody and Carl Amery

      AG Carl Amery, your name is not only associated with novels and critical essays on contemporary culture and politics, you are also a veteran environmental campaigner and a Green political theorist. For a generation you have played a prominent role in both the cultural scene and debate on the environment, first and foremost in your native Bavaria, but also in Germany as a whole. You were a member of the influential writers’ groupGruppe 47in the fifties and sixties, and have since served terms as President of theVerband deutscher Schriftsteller(Association of German Writers in the Printing and union), and...

  7. PART II Environmentalism in Germany:: Political, Social and Cultural Dimensions

    • Chapter 3 Anxieties, Visions and Realities: Environmentalism in Germany
      (pp. 33-44)
      Axel Goodbody

      Germany was not initially at the forefront of the international environmental movement which began in the United States in the 1960s, spread to Europe in the early 1970s, and reached its high point at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The destruction of German industry during the Second World War had been followed by a lengthy period of reconstruction, known as the ‘economic miracle’, dominated by an ethos of scientific progress, technological advance and economic growth. Economic success became a substitute for discredited political aspirations. The longstanding German tradition of conservationism, largely but not exclusively underpinned by a powerful current...

  8. PART III The Environmental Movement:: Past, Present and Future

    • Chapter 4 Contemporary Environmentalism and its Links with the German Past
      (pp. 47-62)
      Thomas Rohkrämer

      In the Federal election in 1983, the Greens gained 5.6 percent of the votes. This was sensational: not only was it the first new party in the Federal Republic to jump the five percent hurdle and establish itself in the national parliament, the Greens also seemed to be ‘a party completely new in essence’ (Kelly 1982: 131). It saw itself as the ‘alternative’, a dynamic force against all the fossilised parties, which seemed to merely manage the status quo. The symbolic imagery of their first appearance in parliament strongly expressed this claim. First they boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of Chancellor...

    • Chapter 5 From Cooperation to Confrontation: The Greens and the Ecology Movement in Germany
      (pp. 63-80)
      Jürgen Hoffmann

      Ecological protest and State environmental policies became important political phenomena in Germany in the 1970s and 1980s. Whereas in the 1970s environmental protest was confined mainly to the extraparliamentary sphere, the founding of the Green Party in 1980 created a new institutional context. This chapter sets out to examine the development of the relationship between the Greens and the ecology movement in the Federal Republic of Germany. It examines the Greens’ roots in the ecological movement and analyses their transformation in the parliamentary process and the day-to-day work of the Berlin Government. Taking the example of the red-green federal goverment...

    • Chapter 6 The Environmental Movement and Environmental Concern in Contemporary Germany
      (pp. 81-102)
      Anja Baukloh and Jochen Roose

      The close connection between environmental concern and the environmental movement seems an obvious one. People come together to express their concern about environmental problems, thus forming the movement. On the other hand, the movement seeks to raise awareness of environmental problems, thus furthering environmental concern. However, as so often when one looks at the detail, things are not that simple. To what extent has the movement promoted environmental concern? To what extent is the movement a result of these concerns, and what exactly, for that matter, does ‘environmental concern’ mean?

      An assessment of the overall success or failure of the...

    • Chapter 7 Green Futures? A Future for the Greens?
      (pp. 103-122)
      Ingolfur Blühdorn

      Three decades after ecological issues first appeared on the political agenda of Germany and most other industrialised countries, social movement researchers and environmental activists have sought to assess the achievements and failures ofgreenpolitics¹ so far (e.g., Blühdorn 1995, 2000a, Diekmann and Jaeger 1996, Rucht 1996 , Jacobs 1997, Ehmke 1998, Klein et al. 1999, Rootes 1999c, Rucht and Roose 1999, 2000a). On the one hand they can point to an impressive record of success in terms of generating public environmental awareness, putting environmental concerns on a strong institutional footing and initiating actual policy change. These achievement have given...

  9. PART IV Literary and Filmic Discourses on the Environment

    • Chapter 8 The Great Blind Spot
      (pp. 125-128)
      Carl Amery

      Must we become inhuman in order to save humankind?² Hitler answered the question, both in his political programme and as a practical politician, with a resounding yes. Not only did he face up to the demands of life, as he saw them – he also invested life with mystical meaning, as the cruel queen,³ whose marshal and executor he undertook to become, in order to preserve the human species. (He referred to this explicitly as his supreme political aim.) In declaring the Jews the arch-enemies of sustainability, he took on the whole Jewish-humanist message – a message of peacefulness, of the preservation...

    • Chapter 9 Writing Environmental Crisis: The Example of Carl Amery
      (pp. 129-152)
      Axel Goodbody

      Amery’s standing in Germany as a critic, essayist and novelist is reflected in a string of literary prizes. He has served terms as elected president of the German Writers’ Union and the German PEN, and recently been the subject of a major exhibition and accompanying publication in Munich. A founding member of the Green Party and author of influential commentaries on environmental issues, he has meanwhile enjoyed a national reputation as a leading Green thinker for the last quarter of a century.¹ Yet since his early studyCapitulation: An Analysis of Contemporary Catholicism(Amery 1967) none of Amery’s books have been...

    • Chapter 10 Environmentalism and its Cultural Transformation in the German Democratic Republic: Poetry and Fictional Prose
      (pp. 153-170)
      Jacquie Hope

      As with so many problems of the former German Democratic Republic, the details of the ecological crisis there were only revealed as a result of theWende, the events of autumn 1989 which paved the way for unification. Its scale exceeded the most pessimistic previous estimates, owing to a range of well-known causative factors.

      A policy of forced industrialisation had been implemented in response to wartime damage, Soviet reparations, and the deficiencies of a largely rural area cut off from the industrial heartland of the Ruhr. Outdated, heavily polluting plant had remained in commission owing to the sluggish economy. The...

    • Chapter 11 Green Strands on the Silver Screen? Heimat and Environment in the German Cinema
      (pp. 171-186)
      Rachel Palfreyman

      It is really not hard to think of German feature films that deal with serious issues of public debate. History, for example, has frequently been a concern of German film-makers: Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s so-called ‘FRG trilogy’, Margarethe von Trotta’sDie bleierne Zeit(The German Sisters), Alexander Kluge’sDie Patriotin(The Patriot ), Jürgen Syberberg’sHitler, ein Film aus Deutschlan(Our Hitler) spring instantly to mind. In the light of this, it is perhaps surprising that it is much harder to come up with a similar list of films which deal with the debates and the struggles that have taken place...

    • Chapter 12 Children’s Literature as a Medium of Environmental Education
      (pp. 187-202)
      Dagmar Lindenpütz

      According to Philippe Ariès (French original 1960), childhood as an autonomous stage of life separate from adulthood is in Europe an invention of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Prior to this children were considered to be ‘amoral, not receptive to moral distinctions, “unformed”…’ (von Hentig 1978: 10). They participated without restriction in the life of adults. With the transition from the ‘big house’ to the small (nuclear) family of the bourgeois age, however, there arose a new image of childhood: the child was no longer ‘an object to pamper and play with, but innocent, corruptable, in need of protection and...

  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 203-206)
  11. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 207-222)
  12. Index
    (pp. 223-228)