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At the Edge of the Wall: Public and Private Spheres in Divided Berlin

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Volume 26

Contemporary European History

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At the Edge of the Wall

Public and Private Spheres in Divided Berlin

Hanno Hochmuth
Translated from the German by David Burnett

358 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-874-0 $145.00/£107.00 Hb Not Yet Published (February 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78920-875-7 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


Praise for the German edition:
“A lively, detailed and well-written book… It provides profound and exciting insights into urban life in Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg in the 20th century, and makes a sound contribution to the history of Berlin.” • H-Soz-Kult

“Historians of cities and urbanization rarely succeed in linking local with broader social history. Hanno Hochmuth's study on the two Berlin working-class districts of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg masters this methodological challenge by analyzing the specific stories of the two districts as a comparative history of integration.” • Sehepunkte

“This is a thorough and exemplary study, shedding light not just on the past under discussion, but, by implication, illuminating current developments too. The focus on the years of division allows for a particularly clear profile of general and specific forces that are at work in Berlin’s urban environment.” • The Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies

“Overshadowed by the Cold War and global confrontation, the complexity and utter normality of everyday life on both sides of the Berlin Wall have often been overlooked. Hanno Hochmuth’s fascinating account of two neighborhoods on the margins of West and East uniquely succeeds in providing a fresh picture of urban society, seen through the eyes of its principal actors: proletarians and pastors, drop-outs and dissidents. Here is the historian as “wall-pecker”: The story Hochmuth tells is 20th-century German history in a nutshell, full of insights that also provide background for understanding the current transformation of Germany’s capital.” • Paul Nolte, Freie Universität Berlin


Located in the geographical center of Berlin, the neighboring boroughs of Friedrichschain and Kreuzberg shared a history and identity until their fortunes diverged dramatically following the construction of the Berlin Wall, which placed them within opposing political systems. This revealing account of the two towns during and after the Cold War takes a microhistorical approach to illuminate the broader historical trajectories of East and West Berlin. Merged into a single borough in 2001, they now comprise a neighborhood that bears the traces of these complex histories and serves as an illuminating case study of gentrification, immigration, and the other social processes that continue to reshape Berlin.

Hanno Hochmuth is a historian/research fellow at the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam (ZZF) and a lecturer at the Free University of Berlin. He is editor, with Paul Nolte, of Stadtgeschichte als Zeitgeschichte: Berlin im 20. Jahrhundert (Urban History as Contemporary History: Berlin in the Twentieth Century) published in 2019 by Wallstein.

Subject: Urban Studies
Area: Germany


List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Map of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg


Chapter 1. Historical Foundations

Part I: Housing

Chapter 2. Housing as a Constitutive Field of the Public and Private Spheres
Chapter 3. The Long “Gestation Period” of Tenement Buildings: Sorauer Strasse
Chapter 4. The Public and Private Sphere in Urban Transformation: Strasse der Pariser Kommune
Chapter 5. Kreuzberg Counter-Public Spheres
Chapter 6. Neighborhood Appropriation in Friedrichshain
Interim Conclusion I

Part II: The Church

Chapter 7. The Church as a Constitutive Field of the Public and Private Spheres
Chapter 8. Church and the Neighborhood Public Sphere in the Kreuzberg
Chapter 9. The Church as a Surrogate Public Sphere in Friedrichshain
Interim Conclusion II

Part III: Entertainment

Chapter 10. Entertainment as a Constitutive Field of the Public and Private Spheres
Chapter 11. Neighborhood Entertainment: Fruchtstrasse Taverns
Chapter 12. The Diversification of Kreuzberg Bar Culture
Chapter 13. Festival Culture Between East and West
Interim Conclusion III

Chapter 14. Perspectives: Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg in Transformation since 1989–90



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