Alternative Emanzipationsvorstellungen in der DDR unter Honecker (1971-1990)
: ein Diskussionsbeitrag zur Rollen der Frau

Translated title of the thesis: Alternative notions of emancipation in the DDR under Honecker (1971-1990): a contribution to the discussion on the role of women
  • Mechthild M. Matheja-Theaker

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Over the last twenty years the situation of women in the German Democratic Republic has been the subject of a considerable number of studies. The approach has generally been of a sociological or socio-political nature. In this thesis I propose to go one step further by examining the information that may be gained from literary sources. In a state where the media are subject to censorship, and thus controlled, one can refer to literature as an acknowledged source of inside information. Literary works often provide a forum for the formulation and discussion of ideas, which could not be aired elsewhere. Chapter 1 shows why literature, which had always been allocated a special role by the GDR's leading party, the SED, may be regarded as a reliable indicator of everyday life in that country.
In this thesis I compare the findings of an analysis of women's literature with sociological data on the one hand and the portrayal of the "ideal" women in GDR media and official writings on the other. The thesis takes an interdisciplinary approach and draws on sources in political, legal, sociological, and cultural fields alike. This constellation of sources allows me to show that the views that female writers expressed in their works frequently coincide with sociological findings. Both of these sources were frequently found to be at odds with statements made in official writings and the media. Such insights could not have been provided by a study conducted from within one discipline.
Date of AwardJan 1991
Original languageGerman
SupervisorR. Woods (Supervisor)


  • Frauenliteratur
  • emanzipation
  • Gleichberechtigung
  • Geschlechtsrollen

Cite this