Guardians of the Party State

Andreas Glaeser

in Political Epistemics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226297934
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226297958 | DOI:
Guardians of the Party State

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The quotations opening this chapter provide glimpses of a worldview in operation. They suggest how deeply the secret police officers believe in Marxism-Leninism, and how this belief was wrapped up in strong identifications with institutions, most notably the party, the state GDR, and the Stasi. They reflect the success of the SED to create the kind of monolithic intentionality it envisioned for the country as a whole. This chapter is the story of officers' understanding in the making where “in the making” means both—becoming and remaining once become. It shows how socialism in the guise of an idea, a person, an institution, or a setting began to be appealing to these men, and how this appeal becomes compelling through the mutually supporting work of resonances, recognitions, and corroborations. This is done by drawing on the life of one officer, while juxtaposing his development to a more general consideration of others' experience. The officer chosen to allegorize the group over a particular period of time is selected not for reasons of representativeness in a demographic sense—the use of that notion is often just the admittance that one knows little about the relevant processes—but for reasons of highlighting particularly important dynamics of validation.

Keywords: Marxism-Leninism; party state; officers; socialism; validation; monolithic

Chapter.  19919 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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