Engagement at the end of an era: evaluating the role of obligation in writers’ contributions to the West German peace movement 1979-1985

Padden, Tom (2016) Engagement at the end of an era: evaluating the role of obligation in writers’ contributions to the West German peace movement 1979-1985. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis examines the contributions of politically engaged writers to the West German peace movement in the final stages of the Cold War.

The intensified arms race and related confrontations in the late 1970s and early 1980s were met with a similarly intensified reaction from peace movements in West Germany and beyond, supported by a variety of groups and individuals, including engaged writers.

My thesis poses the question of how concepts of political, positional, and moral obligation defined and justified these writers’ public engagement in this period, and furthermore examines what distinct contributions these figures made to the wider West German peace movement based on these obligations.

This analysis uses primary materials relating to a range of forms of writers’ engagement in this period, and explores both explicit and implicit forms of obligation supporting the roles and positions taken on by these figures. These include engaged writers’ direct contributions to protest actions, debates concerning the peace movement in the context of writers’ conferences, organisational involvement under the aegis of the Verband deutscher Schriftsteller, and literary engagement through poetry.

Although not arguing that engaged writers singlehandedly led or defined peace protests in this period, my thesis demonstrates that these figures played a number of key contributory roles alongside the many other groups and individuals who made up the broader peace movement. These contributions were made with the support of engaged writers’ particular status and expertise, along with more general factors including their shared position as citizens alongside other protesters, with varied forms of obligation playing a key role in defining and justifying these forms of engagement.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Uecker, M.
Wilds, K.
Subjects: J Political science > JZ International relations
P Language and literature > PT Germanic literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 33631
Depositing User: Padden, Tom
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2016 13:29
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2017 16:17
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/33631

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