Post-authoritarian governmentality? Renegotiating the 'other' spaces of National Socialism in unified Berlin

by Clare Copley

Institution: University of Manchester
Year: 2015
Keywords: Berlin; Governmentality; Space; Memory; Heterotopia; Palimpsest; Tempelhof; Olympic Stadium; Reichsluftfahrtministerium
Record ID: 1390720
Full text PDF: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/escholar/uk-ac-man-scw:244999


Building on a literature that identifies the technologies of liberal governance in the urban fabric of the nineteenth-century ‘liberal city’, my thesis explores the built environment of unified Berlin as a space within which power relations are performed and resisted. The original contribution to knowledge made by this thesis is through its contention that none of the forms of governmentality that have thus far been identified in the literature are adequate for an analysis of the Berlin Republic. To this end it posits the existence of a specifically post-authoritarian governmentality and uses the built environment of Berlin to explore its features and the ways in which it is continually (re)asserted, challenged and (re)negotiated in the German context. More specifically, it analyses post-1990 responses to National Socialist prestige buildings in Berlin which had also been incorporated into the highly politicised narratives of the Cold War: the former Aviation Ministry, the Olympic Stadium and the former Tempelhof Airport. Using these sites’ status as heterotopia, or ‘other spaces’, it highlights how the politics of the past inform the negotiation of the tensions between the celebration / delimitation of heterogeneity, the valorisation / instrumentalisation of ‘objective’ knowledge and the balance between freedom/ control. As well as uncovering evidence to support the idea of post-authoritarian governmentality, the thesis also finds indications that this is a transitional phase and that, in some respects, Germany can be seen to be moving towards the advanced liberal governance seen elsewhere in the western world.