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Globalization, Governance and Identity

Guy Lachapelle
John Trent

2. National Identity and Integration/Disintegration

German Unification 1990-1997

The Long, Long Road

Max Kaase et Petra Bauer-Kaase

Texte intégral

1 Inner Unity, and What it May Mean

1In July 1997, for the first time, the Federal Government provided the Bundestag with an extensive report on the state of German unity (Bundesregierung 1997). In this 304-page document (in its mimeographed format of July 1), a broad array of fields with respect to all major aspects of unification is presented, culminating in the statement (ibid.: 13) that the goal of inner unity (innere Einheit) will be achieved when the great majority of citizens also in the new Länder (the East German states) will speak of the united Germany as their “Land.”

2This view is buffered in the report by the observation that the rapidly-moving material unification in many respects is now complete, but that the process of “inner unification” is going at a much slower pace. Among the reasons given for this are: (a) emotional barriers of the East vis à vis the West as well as the West vis à vis the East, which can be described in a nutshell as the suspected (by the Easterners) arrogance of the West Germans, and the suspected (by the Westerners) lack of gratitude and unwillingness to learn on the part of the East Germans; (b) too little self-esteem on the side of the East Germans who often think of themselves as second-class citizens and suffer from a lack of appreciation (Geringschaetzung) of their previous gdr history (ibid.: 10-11).

3The concept of inner unity, which is frequently referred to when the mentalities of the West Germans and East Germans are contrasted, lacks a clear theoretical underpinning, as Kaase observed in 1993 when he wrote the entry on “Innere Einheit” (Kaase 1993: 372) in the “Handbuch zur deutschen Einheit” (Weidenfeld and Korte 1993). Kaase conceptualized “innere Einheit” as individual characteristics assessed by representative sample surveys and emphasizing (1) similarities and dissimilarities between the two German populations at the time of unification with respect to their mentalities, ways of life and political orientations, and (2) the extent to which these factors have undergone changes since (Kaase 1993: 372).

4In an article for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Veen (1997a; the topic of this article has been further elaborated in Veen, 1997b) has criticized this notion of inner unity as much too encompassing (“... the processual definition [of inner unity; M.K./P.B.-K.] opens up an unlimited field for social research”) and has proposed a functionalist definition which “needs to be strictly oriented towards the legitimacy bases of the Federal Republic” (ibid.). The context of his argument makes clear that he proposes to concentrate on the acceptance of the constitutional order in both parts of Germany, plus the regulative idea of market economy and the embeddedness of Germany in the European Union and in nato. This perspective, at least with respect to the constitutional dimension, is very much in line with pluralist thinking on the consensual sector as the essence of the basic institutions and procedures of the polity, and the controversial sector as the field where democratic conflict can rage (Fraenkel 1964: 152-155). However, well-taken as Veen’s suggestion for conceptual clarity in principle is, first of all he tends to ignore that, in a dynamic perspective, core systemic political beliefs are influenced also by factors outside the political realm, resulting in the need to cast the empirical net much wider (though with a clear theoretical rationale in mind). Second, the analytical focus Veen chooses does not relieve him of the necessity to acknowledge the large differences between West Germans and East Germans in many political beliefs and attitudes (these differences are emphasized by Fuchs et al. [1997] in an article written as a direct reaction to the Veen analysis).

5There is little point in dwelling too long on definitional matters since the data analyzed in this article can only contribute to one particular aspect of the ongoing West-East divide. Thus, the focal point of this empirical scrutiny will be the way West Germans and East Germans look at each other in the long haul, searching for the causes of some of the cognitive and emotional problems which have resulted from German unification. This goal will be approached by adding a 1997 data point to a series of surveys which were conducted since 1992 in the old and the new Länder (for previous empirical work along the same lines see Bauer-Kaase 1993; Kaase 1993; Kaase 1995; Bauer-Kaase and Kaase 1996; Kaase 1996).

6Before this data is presented, the next section will present a brief stock-taking of the extent to which the two Germanies have changed their mental outlook, especially in the political realm since 1990, to see whether there is a uniform tendency for the two populations to become more similar or more different over time.

2 What Happened Since 1990?

7Reading a review article on “Germany after Unification—Normal at Last?” (McAdams, 1997), one can rightfully wonder whether Germany, given two World wars and the Holocaust, can ever become a “normal” democratic nation. While historians, journalists and political philosophers are apparently able to continue this debate without ever reaching a conclusion, social scientists, looking at reliable data on the West German public’s political orientations, fairly well agreed that with the government turnover in 1969 from the Christian Democrats to the Social Democrats under Willy Brandt and Walter Scheel, the Federal Republic has become a stable democracy (Conradt 1980). Needless to say that such an observation easily squares with a belief that German democracy can be improved and that the united Germany is still in search of a new international identity.

8Given Germany’s historical predicament in this century, it was reasonable to ask, as unification became a realistic option, what the joining of a 40-year old liberal democracy and a 40-year old totalitarian system meant regarding the future of the united Germany. Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann voiced a skeptical view in the matter when, after an analysis of the democratic beliefs of East Germans, she concluded that “one cannot help wondering whether democracy will ever gain acceptance [in the new Lander; M.K./P.B.-K.] under these circumstances” (Noelle-Neumann 1994: 2.30).

9While understandable in a historical perspective, this skepticism nevertheless overlooks two simple but important facts. First of all, the two Germanies did not unite at par. East Germany ceased to exist as an independent state and took on more or less completely the constitutional and legal framework of the Federal Republic (for details see Kaase et al. 1996; Wollmann et al. 1997). In addition, one must be mindful of the fact that, in 1989, 79 percent of the German population lived in the old and only 21 percent in the new Länder (by December 1996 the proportion was 81 percent to 19 percent). This is not a trivial ratio when one reflects on the future of German democracy and worries about the entrance of a citizenry which was politically socialized under totalitarian rule.

10Second, a democracy may well be destabilized in the long run when their citizens completely and vigorously turn away from it. Nevertheless, a democracy is also, and not the least, defined by its constitutional-legal institutions, and they have to be considered in their own right when one reflects on the persistence of a democratic polity.

2.1 Attitudes Towards Democracy in Germany

11Before findings on this topic are discussed, a reminder is in order. If one considers that since 1990 1000 Billion DM net transfers have gone to the new from the old Länder (Bundesregierung 1997: 2), then one can imagine the economic strain which has resulted from unification. However, this strain became effective exactly at a time when the trend towards globalization of industry and trade, accompanied by electronic networking, gained full force and deeply challenged the established notion of the West German welfare state as the epitome of “rheinischer Kapitalismus.” Both developments have helped to create and perpetuate the sense of gloom which now lies as a veil over all of Germany and its (depending on the counting method) four to six million unemployed. Thus, democracy in Germany is facing a double challenge: the “new” Germans have to get accustomed to a complex set of political institutions and procedures at a time of special (regional) as well as general strain, and the “old” Germans are facing a challenge to their welfare entitlements at a time when the legitimating and stabilizing nature of the negative counter-image of the totalitarian communist states, and particularly the gdr, is no longer available.

12With the first free Volkskammer election coming up and signs of an eventual unification accumulating in early 1990 in the gdr, West German market research firms very quickly, competently and efficiently extended their services into East Germany, so that West German social research could study the process of transition in the East (and its perceptions as well as its repercussions in the West) from the beginning. Especially with respect to attitudes towards democracy, surprising similarities between West Germans and East Germans were discovered, similarities which in fact made an American observer wonder whether in the East one was not dealing with “questionnaire democrats” (Dalton 1994).

13More recent research has qualified the early findings in various ways (for an overview of these findings see Gabriel 1996). Owing much to David Easton’s (1965; 1975) differentiation into a hierarchy of political objects, analyses showed that there was relatively little difference between the West and the East in the large amount of support for the principal idea of democracy (Fuchs 1997a: 106).

14As the following figures 1-3 indicate, however, the data reveals a substantially different picture when it comes to the West-East assessment of the kind of democracy, its institutions (Walz 1997) and the economic system developed in the Federal Republic and transferred to the East, as well as their performance.

15Without discussing this data in any greater detail, three observations stand out. First, there is a consistent and substantial difference between the West and the East in that in the latter, support for West German democracy, market economy and overall democratic performance is lower by 20 to 40 percentage points. One may speculate here that, as the economic situation in the East will improve (in the long run at least) and as new generations of East Germans will enter the electorate, this state of affairs will improve. However, drawing on a 1997 youth survey (14 to 29 years old) by the Allensbach Institut für Demoskopie, Noelle-Neumann (1997a) observes that 49 percent of young East Germans, but only 15 percent of young West Germans (1994: 40 percent to 8 percent) would have preferred if unification had led to a new kind of state with a mixture of market economy, humanism and socialism (the so-called third way). Thus, there is no question that in this sense the citizens in the new Länder have not yet fully arrived in the new, united Germany, and that at present, little change to the better can be expected from a young new generation entering the East German voting citizenry.

16Second, in the West there still remains a gap between the evaluation of democracy and its concrete performance (the latter being lower), as one would expect from theoretical considerations. This discrepancy cannot be found in the East. Third, there is a downward trend in this data in both parts of Germany on all the dimensions covered here. This points to an impact of the obvious gross dissatisfaction with the high level of unemployment in particular, but also with the perceived lack of action by the federal government in coping with problems which carry over from the authorities to the regime level (this transfer hypothesis is further corroborated in a paper by Cusack [1997] who uses an econometric model to assess these effects).

17Summarizing the findings from the literature, there is little question that the much lower satisfaction with (West German) democracy in the new Länder reflects socialization effects from the previous totalitarian regime (Fuchs et al. 1997; Noelle-Neumann 1997b) as well as the economic difficulties which, despite all financial transfers from the West and from the EU, are still prevalent there (Conradt 1997; Walz and Brunner 1997). But this explanation does not suffice. Fuchs (1997a; 1997b) has also analyzed the extent to which this discrepancy in satisfaction is related to a difference in concepts of democracy in the two parts of Germany. His conclusion is that there are three such factors in the East whch can be regarded as socialization legacies and need to be considered here: (1) the desire for a variety of social rights to be constitutionally ascertained (like right to housing, work); (2) more emphasis on plebiscitary elements in political participation; (3) a greater role of the state in guaranteeing social welfare rights and equality (see also Veen and Zelle 1995: 5; Roller 1997; Fuchs et al. 1997: 6-8). Fuchs (1997b: 281) concludes that the two Germanies in these attitudes differ to an extent which permits “to speak of a breakage of the political community” (translation M.K./P.B.-K.). It may well be that Fuchs overstates his case; nevertheless, empirical evidence abounds that with respect to orientations towards the democratic system of governance, even in 1997 a major West-East cleavage could be observed.

2.2 The Problem of Political Identity

18Based on the 1995-97 wave of the World Values Survey coordinated by Ronald Inglehart, Klingemann (1997) has shown that out of 24 countries around the globe, Germany and Japan continue to be last when it comes to pride in one’s country and the willingness to fight for it should the need arise. Apparently, the effect of the two countries’ active involvement in the Second World War lingers on even forty years after the end of that war. Whatever (little) surge in these feelings was observed in Germany around the time of unification, it has now withered away again (Westle 1997: 68; Veen and Zelle 1995: 8).

19One important additional finding is that both Germanies can be characterized by a multiplicity of simultaneous identifications with the town/community, the Bundesland (state), and the nation, thereby neutralizing the impact of one overarching national identity. Also, it will surprise no one that in the West there is almost a complete convergence of identities between the “old” Federal Republic and the “new” united Germany; after all, in almost all respects they are the same. However, a look at the East German data tells a different story. While shortly after unification, identification with the former gdr fell below 50 percent, by 1994 it had regained about 20 percentage points, thereby indicating that East Germans were in the process of establishing an identity of their own and making their gdr biography a part of it (Westle 1997: 67-69).

20One of the most-cited findings from the Almond and Verba Civic Culture Study was that in West Germany, pride in one’s country was hardly related at all to the new democratic political institutions. A substantial increase in that dimension as a reason for pride by 1978 (Conradt 1980: 229-231) was one of the reasons Conradt could speak of a “Changing German Political Culture.” Westle (1997: 70-74) has updated this time series for the West up to 1994, and has also included the new Länder since 1991. Without dealing with the details of this analysis, it is worthwhile to summarize the main finding: West and East Germany, at least in 1992, differed dramatically in the extent to which national pride is based on objects of the political system (much lower in the East). While it is unsatisfactory that no recent data on this issue are available covering the period after 1992, the existing analyses reinforce the point made above that at least in the East, the old gdr identity continues to play an important role in helping the citizens in the new Länder to reestablish their own biographies.

21One interesting problem raised by Veen (1997a) refers to the extent to which the analytical concentration on the West-East divide artificially inflates its impact, while in reality this divide is not principally different from other, historically developed regional identities and potential cleavages in West Germany, like between the Bavarians and the North Germans. However, research shows that the West-East distinction, at least at this point in time, still continues to be special and relevant, and this for good theoretical reasons (Schneider 1997). But there is also convincing empirical evidence nuancing this point. First, in a longitudinal study of communication behavior between West Germans and East Germans in panel group discussions between 1992 and 1994, it was shown that the West-East category was and remains an important as well as easily accessible code for social interactions. However, as the contact groups continued to meet (for a maximum of three encounters), becoming acquainted with each other reduced the saliency of the West-East distinction (Piontkowski, Öhlschlegel-Haubrock and Hôlker 1997). Thus, since in the German aggregate the probability of regular personal encounters among West-East individuals will remain rather low, there is little reason to expect that the easy accessibility and potential salience of the West-East category will diminish in the near future, particularly given the fact that in public political discourse (like the sustained financial transfers from the West to the East for economic development), this cleavage is constantly reinforced.

22Secondly, in a re-analysis of a 1996 survey on behalf of the “Kommission für die Erforschung des sozialen und politischen Wandels in den neuen Bundeslàndern” (kspw) by the authors of this article, the above Veen hypothesis was tested in a regression analysis with a set of dummy variables as independent variables representing the five regions of North Germany (with the four Länder Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony, plus West-Berlin), Northrhine-Westphalia, Center Germany (Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland), Southern Germany (Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria) and East Germany (the five new Länder plus East Berlin). In these analyses, regarding the orientations towards democracy and the political system previously discussed as dependent variables, East Germany consistently turned out to be by the far most distinctive regional category.

2.3 Values and Value Change

23In many ways, the former gdr was terra incognita, with respect to value orientations, when representative survey research in the East became routinely possible after 1989. Given the impact of the materialism-postmaterialism conceptualization à la Inglehart, it does not come as a surprise that the Inglehart scheme has been replicated in the East since 1990. Beyond this, a large set of other values was also empirically examined. The topic of values is briefly taken up in this article because previous research has shown that value orientations can be very consequential for political attitudes and behaviors.

24Before some selected findings on values are discussed, a qualifying remark is in order. For the dimensions of materialism/postmaterialism, and duty and acceptance/self-realization time series, data points to the fact that the early 90s were witnessing a change away from postmaterialism (Bauer-Kaase and Kaase 1998) and self-realization values (Veen and Graf 1997), most likely reflecting the negative turn of the economic tide. However, this point shall not be pursued here any further because it is peripheral to the West-East perspective of this article.

25Rather, the question is to what extent research on values since 1990 can say something about the structure of, and changes in, value orientations. It has to be kept in mind that a summary discussion of these aspects of values is hampered by the fact that different authors have concentrated on quite different value dimensions. Certainly, the most encompassing stock-taking in this field is a book by Meulemann (1996), the main findings of which are summarized in a recent research report (Meulemann 1997). His main assumption is that, based on the contrasting systemic characteristics for the acquisition of values in the two German states before 1990, substantial differences in value orientations between the two can be expected (this is the structure hypothesis). The alternative is the delay hypothesis, which argues that, since in the gdr developments were suppressed which were permitted freely in the frg, East German values in 1990 should resemble West German values before the mid-60s when the value change started there. Both hypotheses predict an assimilation in the East to Western standards, though differently, depending on the four value dimensions scrutinized by Meulemann: equality, achievement, co-determination, and religions feeling and morality as indicators for the acceptance of institutions.

26Without following Meulemann’s analysis in detail, the main findings can be summarized as follows: (1) after unification, West-East differences were much more frequent than similarities; (2) for changes in value orientations in East Germany, the prevailing pattern is one of increasing West-East separation and differences, triggered mostly by the devaluation after 1990 in the East of the metaphysical component in work values imposed upon gdr citizens by their authorities (Meulemann 1997: 133-136).

27In a much more limited analysis, Arzheimer and Klein (1997: 39-43) test three hypotheses: (1) the conservation hypothesis which postulates that the East Germans were not substantially influenced by the gdr regime structures, but rather stuck to the value system predominant in Germany around the middle of the century (this somewhat resembles Meulemann’s delay hypothesis); (2) the socialization hypothesis which maintains that there was a value change in the gdr, but one which took place under the specific gdr conditions, resulting in an emphasis on both equality and achievement; (3) the congruence hypothesis arguing that both in the gdr and in the frg a similar value change has taken place.

28These authors test their hypotheses with longitudinal data spanning the 1990-1995 period and conclude grosso modo that only the socialization hypothesis can hold its ground (as was mentioned before, the same claim is made by Fuchs et al. [1997], for the political realm). This hypothesis, of course, emphasizes the differences in value orientations between West Germans and East Germans. This concerns particularly a stronger preponderance in the East of welfare, state and participatory orientations, thereby reinforcing aspects of difference which were already mentioned in the section on attitudes towards democracy (these findings receive further support through analyses by Roller [1997] as well as Jagodzinski and Kühnel [I997]).

29The same can be said regarding a traditional Allensbach question which juxtaposes the two values of freedom and equality. As figure 4 shows, the well-known difference between a liberal and a socialist concept of society surfaces again, with the East Germans emphasizing freedom at a 20 percentage-point margin less than equality (Kocher, 1996; as Noelle-Neumann [1997b] shows, this rift has become even greater in 1997).

2.4 A First Summary

30Hans-Joachim Veen has argued that the notion of “inner unity” in describing West-East differences should be reserved to basic matters of constitutional and institutional design. Furthermore, he suggested that one should be cautious in concentrating just on the two Germanies, while it may be very likely that similar differences also exist within West German regions. On both accounts, the situation in 1997 is clear: vis à vis German democracy, there have been and persist substantial differences between the two populations, including those between West German and East German elites Bürklin 1997: 242-246, 256-261), in the sense that East Germans are more skeptical and distant, and differ in their concept of what a democracy is, and that these differences by far outweigh differences within West Germany, which mostly reflect the various party colorings of the West German regions.

31Beyond attitudes towards democracy, the analysis of value orientations has also corroborated that in most cases (for an exception see Veen and Graf, 1997) the two Germanies have not moved closer, but rather apart, a consideration which is reinforced by the observation that East Germans increasingly rediscover their former gdr identity as a positive element in their biography.

3 A Longitudinal Analysis of West-East Stereotypes

3.1 Theoretical Considerations

32In an article on East-West stereotypes, Doll, Mielke and Mentz (1994: 501-503) developed two hypotheses about the way East-West mutual stereotypes and self-perceived stereotypes will develop over time. They argued that, provided the East-West distinction is salient, no social discrimination will ensue if status differences between the two groups are accepted by both. However, once—as in the case of German unification—consensus on those differences is (constitutionally; M.K./P.B.-K.) brought into question, both groups will have to emphasize their own position, the one group (the West Germans) being challenged in their status, and the other (East German) group being in danger of losing its identity and self-esteem altogether.

33These theoretical considerations lead the authors to speculate (hypothesis one) that the “dominant” West Germans generally favor their own group by ascribing important positive features to it and granting positive evaluations to the “out” group only on those characteristics deemed less important (indirect discrimination). For the East Germans, the authors presume that in order to cope with the danger of losing or diminishing their own identity, they emphasize positive traits of their own group and at the same time assimilate to the “dominant” (West German) “out” group by accepting certain generally positive qualities.

34What these reflections point to is the assumption that positive social identities are extremely important for individuals and that the construction, deconstruction and reconstruction of social identities takes place through processes of social comparison. Since positive identities are thus regarded as highly desirable, individuals search for ways of selecting objects and dimensions for these comparisons which will produce a positive identity (Haeger et al. 1996: 259-263). Obviously, for the type of social comparisons triggered by German unification, the West-East dimension is very salient (Piontkowski, Ôhlschlegel-Haubrock and HÖlker 1997), although less so for West Germans than for East Germans (Haeger et al. 1996: 270-271, 275).

35The Doll, Mielke and Mentz (1994) study covered the 1990-1992 period and was based on an aggregate analysis of data on 13 individual property pairs, which had to be attributed both by West German and East German representative samples to the respective “in” and “out” group. The 13 bipolar item sets were grouped into the two dimensions of competence virtues and morality and working virtues to facilitate the analysis. The main results were that West Germans are ranked highest, though decreasing over time, by the East Germans themselves in the competence dimension, while East Germans ranked themselves highest—and increasingly so—and West Germans lowest—and spectacularly declining from 1990 to 1991—in the dimension of morality and working virtues (ibid.: 511-513).

36These findings can be summarized by saying that the East Germans compensated for their potential loss of identity ensuing from the consequences of unification by increasingly emphasizing their own strengths as they saw them, and by de-emphasizing the perceived strengths of the West German “out” group. Thus, the mutual evaluations of the two groups became more rather than less divergent over time, and this is mostly due to the East German respondents, although the West German respondents also got more skeptical regarding East German morality and work virtues. These findings are generally reinforced and differentiated through the study by Haeger et al. (1996: 274-277), in the sense that East Germans emphasize the dimension of social competence, where they see themselves doing much better than the West Germans (this is reinforced by a 1994 comparison based on the so-called Giessen test; see Brähler and Richter 1995: 8-10), the West Germans being more or less in agreement with this assessment. This points, generally speaking, to the dynamic compensatory and voluntaristic nature of comparisons in order to ascertain one’s own identity.

37One first conclusion to be drawn from these findings is that, as long as the West-East category remains salient in public discourse and private perceptions, and the East Germans are still fighting for the positive reconstruction of their identity in a united Germany, it cannot be expected that the East Germans will take a more relaxed stance vis à vis their countrymen in the West. It remains to be seen how this analysis squares with the data from a May/June 1997 representative sample survey conducted by the Hamburg gfm-getas institute for the “Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung.”

3.2 An Analysis of Anti-West and Anti-East Stereotypes

38In the spring of 1992, Der Spiegel commissioned a survey with the Bielefeld EMNID survey research institute on political attitudes in East and West Germany. The survey included a set of questions about the mutual perceptions and self-perceptions of the two populations regarding the problems of unification. The data from this study was made available to the authors for secondary analysis and was replicated in further studies in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997. Thus, a longitudinal analysis of aggregate stability and change in these orientations was possible, covering five points in time.

39The initial formulation of the items was not derived from any specific theory and cannot be regarded as an established, well-anchored measurement instrument. Furthermore, it needs to be kept in mind from the outset that an anti-west item has a different meaning in the West than in the East (the same is, of course true for the anti-east items). This ambiguity, however, is a major asset for the later index and typology construction.

Table 1. Approval of West-East Stereotypes by West Germans and East Germans 1992-1997 (percentages; all respondents)

Table 1. Approval of West-East Stereotypes by West Germans and East Germans 1992-1997 (percentages; all respondents)

40Table i documents the wording of the five anti-west items and the three anti-east items as well as the responses (in percentages) across time. A certain methodological complication arises from the fact that the initial designers of the instrument decided in favor of a one-dimensional intensity rating: the given statements may correspond to the position of the respondent “completely,” “somewhat,” “a little” or “not at all.” Instead, it would have been preferable to apply a differentiated agree-disagree format with an equal number of agree and disagree categories each, which would have permitted an unambiguous allocation of the responses to the overall agree and disagree option. Since this was not possible ex post, for the further analyses the “completely” and “somewhat” categories were collapsed to indicate approval, and the “little” and “not at all” categories were joined to show disapproval.

41Without dwelling too much on the individual items, two general findings stand out. For one, and most importantly, regarding both sets of items (except the one item stating that there are people in the West who would rather live as if unification had not happened), in gross terms there are consistent and substantial differences in the way both samples see each other and the respective “out” group: the West Germans do not accept the criticism insinuated by the respective items, but agree with the negative statements about the Easterners, and vice versa. Second, in unification matters, over the six-year period under scrutiny here, West Germans and East Germans become less skeptical, whereas the East Germans remain as skeptical and the West Germans almost as skeptical as they were from the beginning of these surveys vis à vis their counterparts. The following Table 2 summarizes these data by averaging percentages across the five antiwest and the three anti-east items separately for the two samples for each point in time, and also by showing the percentage point differences from the two types of comparisons to be found in the table.

42This display accentuates the findings just discussed. In the first five rows of the table, the general picture prevails that both samples see their own group in a much more favorable light than the “out” group. Rows six through ten, however, are even more interesting because they reveal that the assessment of the respective “out” group by the “in” group is moderately more favorable in the West than in the East, and that the East Germans from the start were much more favorable towards their own group than were the West Germans.

Table 2. Average Criticism of West and East Germans vis à vis the In-Group and Out-Group 1992-1997 (percentages and percentage point differences)

Table 2. Average Criticism of West and East Germans vis à vis the In-Group and Out-Group 1992-1997 (percentages and percentage point differences)

43Thus, it seems that the continued salience of the West-East divide has not permitted the growth of more friendly West-East feelings regarding problems with the unification process as time went by. Rather, the contrary seems true: While it appeared that the 1995 data signalled a slight closing of this gap, 1997 now points in a more negative direction again. Thus, no assimilation between the two Germanies can be registered, pointing not only—as just mentioned—to the continued saliency of the West-East dimension, but also to the fact that for the East Germans, more than for the West Germans, feelings about the role of the West Germans in the unification process constitute an important aspect of their identity construction.

44In the following, the data on the individual West-East items are condensed into two indices and one typology. Data reduction, however, first requires a look at the way the individual items statistically relate. Here the question is particularly whether—separate for the West and the East—all eight items form one unidimensional scale or not. Factor analysis has been used to answer this question (results not shown here): consistently, an anti-west and an anti-east dimension emerged both after an orthogonal and an oblique rotation. The structure of correlations displayed in Table 3 explains why this is the case: Both in the West and in the East at all five points in time, the anti-west and the anti-east items, when separated, correlated positively and in a satisfactory magnitude among themselves, whereas the pooling of all eight items results in close to zero inter-item correlations.

45This data structure suggests that the most economical way of condensing the data is to use summary indices where the number of approved items is simply counted. Obviously, for the resulting antiwest index the range of values is o (no item approved by the respondent) to 5 (all items approved by the respondent); the corresponding anti-east index, because of the smaller number of items, ranges from o to 3. The resulting two indices are displayed in Tables 4 and 5 for the two samples.

46Compared to the previous analysis, at least one interesting qualification pertains. In 1997, West Germans rejected the negative stereotypes the East Germans might have harbored against them, although they did so less than in 1995. Secondly, the index reinforces the observation that East Germans are much more polarized in their views than West Germans. There is little disagreement in the East that the West Germans are guilty of mishandling the affairs of their Eastern compatriots, and there is also little disagreement among the Easterners that they are not guilty in unification matters.

47All in all, there can be no question on the basis of this analysis that the West-East rift in these attitudes has not narrowed, but widened from 1995 to 1997.

Table 3. Average Correlations (Pearson’s r) Within and Between the Five Anti-West Items and the Three Anti-East Items in the West and in the East: 1992-1997

Table 3. Average Correlations (Pearson’s r) Within and Between the Five Anti-West Items and the Three Anti-East Items in the West and in the East: 1992-1997

2. Source: EMNID/Spiegel-Study 1992; voting-age population
Source: Study of the Lehrstuhl für Politische Wissenschaft und International Vergleichende Sozialforschung of the University of Mannheim 1993; voting-age population
Source: WZB/ZUMA Post-election study 1994; voting-age population
Source: WZB 1995; voting-age population
Source: WZB 1997: voting-age population

48Given the substantial statistical independence between the two indices (in 1994, 1995 and 1997 the correlations in the West were respectively r =-.004,.166 and.091, and in the East r =.001,-.024 and-.052), from the earliest analyses on (Bauer-Kaase 1993; Kaase 1993) it seemed attractive to combine both indices into one single typology. This would answer the question of whether there was an identifiable political belief context behind the response patterns in the data, as contrasted with the possibility that on the individual level the responses just represent idiosyncratic reactions to day-to-day political stimuli. Table 6 documents the construction of the typology both in the West and in the East. Whereas the types ‘Positivist’ and ‘Negativist’ are identically constructed in both instances, it must be understood that in order to be functionally equivalent, the types ‘Internalizer’ and ‘Externalizer’ must be established differently for the West German and for the East German sample.

Table 4. Index Anti-West-Stereotypes in West and East Germany (percentages)

Table 4. Index Anti-West-Stereotypes in West and East Germany (percentages)

Table 5. Index Anti-East-Stereotypes in West and East Germany (percentages)

Table 5. Index Anti-East-Stereotypes in West and East Germany (percentages)

49While the ‘Positivist’ rejects notions of inadequate behavior both for the Westerners and the Easterners, the ‘Negativist’ does just the opposite in supporting both. ‘Internalizer’ means that one sees the reasons for the problems with unification only in one’s own and not in the other group, while the ‘Externalizer’ attributes all responsibility to the other and not to his or her own group.

50Of course, an examination of the percentage distributions of the types, given their construction, cannot alter the basic conclusions previously drawn. It does, however, serve to sharpen the contours of the findings, particularly with respect to the fact that the majority of East Germans consistently sees all fault with West Germans and hardly any with themselves.

51While the election year 1994 and also the following year seemed to signal an improvement in West-East in-group and out-group attitudes in the direction of a more favorable evaluation of the situation, 1997 has partly reversed this development. Compared to 1995 in the West, the I997 data shows stability, with a small decrease in the number of Positivists and an even smaller increase in the number of Negativists. By contrast, in the East the name of the game is outright externalization: more than three quarters of East German citizens now feel that whatever went wrong with the unification process is to be attributed to the West Germans. If one accepts the conceptualization of inner unity as it was done in this article, then there is precious little question that the two Germanies held different viewpoints in this matter to start with, and that the seven years into a unified Germany have not produced a West-East rapprochement, at least not on the basis of the data used in this analysis (and certainly not, as shown before, on the basis of other findings).

52Unfortunately, for lack of funds, the 1997 survey did not contain any additional questions which would have permitted the placement of the four types into a general politico-attitudinal context, like with respect to the three dimensions covered before in this article: legitimacy beliefs, identities and values. One piece of information available as a comparative yardstick across the time dimension pertains to the two sociostructural criteria of age and education. As table 7 shows, neither variable is very strongly related to the typology. Two differences between the types are nevertheless worth noting. Particularly in the West, higher education goes above average with the Positivists, and it is this type which is also by far the youngest of the four types both in the West and the East. While one could be tempted to speculate that these characteristics make the Positivists an especially promising type for inner unity, the empirical basis for this speculation without additional pertinent data is too shaky to build a strong argument on.

Table 6. Typology of West-East German Stereotypes 1992-1997 (percentages)

Table 6. Typology of West-East German Stereotypes 1992-1997 (percentages)

53Beyond education and age, party preference (operationalized by the question of party choice at a hypothetical election next Sunday) is also available for elaboration on what the four types stand for. As in previous analyses, the parties were ordered along the left-right continuum, joining the actual or potential coalition partners of spd/B 90-Greens and cdu-csu/fdp. For this analysis, it has to be kept in mind first that in 1997 about 40 percent of the respondents in both samples could not be classified on the voting question because they either did not know or refused to answer, or indicated they would not vote. In addition, in the West the present government received only 34 percent and in the East a 21 percent share of a potential vote. Looking at the correlation coefficients (Cramer’s V) along the time dimension first, it is interesting to observe that of all five points in time, both in the West and in the East, these coefficients in 1997 (West: .096, East: .140) are lower than before, indicating that the partisan component in the evaluation of the unification process is losing some of its bite. In the early summer of 1997, there is not a single type in both parts of Germany where the conservative-liberal government can muster a majority. This is a major change certainly with the Positivists who were favoring the present coalition all along, but also for the Eastern Internalizers and the Western Externalizers. However, in the East the two types of Externalizers and Negativists, who put the blame for the problems with unification on the West Germans, are still a stronghold for the postcommunist PDS. In sum, though, one can maintain that the differences with respect to how the process of unification is perceived, are no longer related to the partisanship of the respondents in a similarly clear-cut fashion as before.

54Given the findings reported in section 2.1 of this article on attitudes towards democracy, it is therefore more pertinent to ask to what extent the relationship between attitudes towards democracy and the typology reported in previous work (Kaase 1995: 173-179; Bauer-Kaase and Kaase 1996: 15-21) is still operational. While such data was not available for the 1995 survey, the authors of this article were permitted access to three questions which were asked by the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in the same 1997 study from which the typology was derived (see Table 8).

Table 7. Correlations of Typology and Education, Age, Political Interest in West and East Germany: 1992-1997: Cramer’s V1

Table 7. Correlations of Typology and Education, Age, Political Interest in West and East Germany: 1992-1997: Cramer’s V1

1. Cramer’s V is a correlation coefficient for nominal variables. It varies between o (statistical independence) and 1 (perfect dependence). It only measures the degree of covariation between two variables, but does not indicate its direction.

55If one starts by looking at the West-East marginals for the three questions, the differences in basic political outlook discussed before with data from other surveys are clearly corroborated: the East Germans are less satisfied with German democracy, favor democratic rule on a substantially reduced scale, and are still more favorable towards socialism than their West German fellow citizens. These differences, it was argued, reflect both the effects of political socialization under totalitarian rule and of context, particularly the high rate of unemployment in the East (this latter point is strongly emphasized by Zelle 1997).

56With respect to the relationship of the three indicators of attitudes toward democracy and socialism to the typology, the first observation to be made is that the differences between types are considerably greater in the East than in the West. This finding reinforces a previous point regarding the relationship between the typology and voting intention (coded along the left-right-dimension), that attitudes with respect to unification in the West are becoming less relevant in relation to other dimensions of the individual political belief system (for the 1993/1994 period see Kaase 1995: 177).

Table 8. Typology and Support for Democracy and Socialism in West and East Germany in 1997 (percentages; valid cases)1

Table 8. Typology and Support for Democracy and Socialism in West and East Germany in 1997 (percentages; valid cases)1

1. The support of Hans-Joachim Veen and Carsten Zelle in providing access to this data is highly appreciated.

57In the new Lander, the quantitatively largest type of Externalizers and Negativists are above-average in their dissatisfaction with democracy and approval of socialism on all three accounts. While it is not possible to derive a causal interpretation from these cross-sectional data, we can reasonably speculate that lagging acceptance of democratic rule and the favorable recollections of socialism are both welded together with a feeling that the West Germans have not done enough to make unification work in the East, as epitomized by the economic strains there.

58One more aspect which emerges from analyzing this data deserves attention. In the West, the attitudes on democracy and socialism are as in 1993 and, other than in 1994, not very much related to leftright vote intention: support for democracy as a political system, different from that for the incumbents, is very much above partisan conflict, as it should be in a mature democracy. By contrast, in the East these attitudes are still substantially shaped by partisan cues, not the least because there still exists a strong pds at the extreme left which crystallizes the frustrations and dissatisfactions in the new Lander regarding the unification process. In this sense, the consolidation phase in the East has, even seven years after the transformation of the political system, not yet come to an end.

4. Conclusions

59This article raised the question: what was the status of inner unity between the two German populations in the sense of similar beliefs in important dimensions of political orientation in 1997, and what changes, if any, can be observed in this matter?

60However one approaches this question, in terms of concepts and indicators, the results are highly consistent, in that with respect to major political belief elements a rapprochement has not taken place, and that the two German populations have rather grown more distant than similar. Based on social-psychological identity theories, the reasons for this development have become a little clearer. The threat to the social identity of the East Germans through unification has been underestimated, and they are now reconstructing their biographies in a manner which helps them to establish a positive self image: they emphasize their own strengths and become more critical of what they initially thought to be West German strengths. Since the constitutional and practical logic of unification makes the West Germans the most plausible reference group for East-West comparisons, it therefore cannot come as a surprise that these comparisons for reasons of Eastern identity-building must result in a distancing process. On the side of the West Germans, increasing malfunctions in policy-making and the economic challenges of globalization and transnational competition have taken away some of their shining image, not only in the East Germans’, but also in their own view. This now puts a sudden identity strain on the West Germans which makes it difficult for them to give away some of their perceived dominance vis à vis the East Germans, resulting in further enlarging the distance between the two Germanies.

61These are not the only reasons for the difficulties in reaching more inner unity in Germany. For one, the economic strains have increased to a point where the name of the political game is no longer the distribution of growth, but of losses in the German welfare state. The process of reaching unity has not yet fully started even in 1997, and more changes and conflict are around the corner, not least in the light of the upcoming national election in September 1998. In addition, the analyses have shown that beyond these concrete policy strains, West Germans and East Germans also represent differences in socialization experience regarding their expectations of what a democracy is supposed to be.

62Still, this article does not end on an exclusively negative note. First, one must recall that all of the above grievances do not extend to a situation where German democracy is at stake again, as is insinuated in the title of Cusack’s (1997) paper. This is not only because the political attitudes of the two Germanies permit no such interpretation, but also because the citizens’ orientations are embedded in and constrained by both a proven institutional framework and by the integration of Germany into a network of established democracies and international organizations around the globe. Second, it may well be suspected that successful identity reconstruction of the citizens in the new Länder is a favorable condition for a situation sometime in the future, where West Germans and East Germans will have finally constructed “e pluribus unum.”



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Table des illustrations

Titre Table 1. Approval of West-East Stereotypes by West Germans and East Germans 1992-1997 (percentages; all respondents)
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Titre Table 2. Average Criticism of West and East Germans vis à vis the In-Group and Out-Group 1992-1997 (percentages and percentage point differences)
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Titre Table 3. Average Correlations (Pearson’s r) Within and Between the Five Anti-West Items and the Three Anti-East Items in the West and in the East: 1992-1997
Légende 2. Source: EMNID/Spiegel-Study 1992; voting-age population3. Source: Study of the Lehrstuhl für Politische Wissenschaft und International Vergleichende Sozialforschung of the University of Mannheim 1993; voting-age population4. Source: WZB/ZUMA Post-election study 1994; voting-age population5. Source: WZB 1995; voting-age population6. Source: WZB 1997: voting-age population
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Titre Table 4. Index Anti-West-Stereotypes in West and East Germany (percentages)
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Titre Table 5. Index Anti-East-Stereotypes in West and East Germany (percentages)
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Titre Table 6. Typology of West-East German Stereotypes 1992-1997 (percentages)
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Titre Table 7. Correlations of Typology and Education, Age, Political Interest in West and East Germany: 1992-1997: Cramer’s V1
Légende 1. Cramer’s V is a correlation coefficient for nominal variables. It varies between o (statistical independence) and 1 (perfect dependence). It only measures the degree of covariation between two variables, but does not indicate its direction.
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Titre Table 8. Typology and Support for Democracy and Socialism in West and East Germany in 1997 (percentages; valid cases)1
Légende 1. The support of Hans-Joachim Veen and Carsten Zelle in providing access to this data is highly appreciated.
Fichier image/jpeg, 68k
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