chapter  3
Communist societies, the velvet revolution, and weak ties
The case of East Germany
ByHenk Flap, Beate Völker
Pages 18

East Germany’s institutional overhaul began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in the autumn of 1989. The transformation in the GDR from communism to market and democracy is among the best traceable cases of the velvet revolution in East European societies (Stark and Bruszt 1998). The institutional changes had extensive consequences for almost every aspect of life of former GDR citizens. For a sociologist these events constitute a unique opportunity to inquire into key elements of social research: the social conditioning of life and the limits to malleability through social institutions.