Attempting to Know and Control the Opposition

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:
Attempting to Know and Control the Opposition

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This chapter describes and analyzes the means used by the secret police to control the formation of dissident groups and their activities in socialist East Germany. It interprets these efforts of the Stasi as a particular form of politics undertaken with the intention to prevent, hinder, or undo the formation of party-critical institutions. These efforts were oriented and directed by the party state's political understandings about how dissident activities come about. This chapter is devoted to the exploration of “PID/PUT/'opposition'” theory and its institutionalization in rules and regulations as well as in actual practices. It shows how this theory acquired credibility among party officials and Stasi officers within the international context in which it was developed and the first cases to which it was applied. Analyzing the relationship between the Stasi's guidance officers and their informants leads to the question of how socialism produces knowledge about itself and how this knowledge informs actions to maintain its institutional order, that is, in the language of political epistemology, to engage in self-politics.

Keywords: Stasi; PID/PUT/opposition theory; guidance officers; self-politics; institutionalization

Chapter.  29091 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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