Archiv für Sozialgeschichte
Band XLIII/ 2003 - Summaries

Klaus Weinhauer,

Terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1970s. Aspects of a Social and Cultural History of Internal Security

The essay sketches the first steps towards a social-historically focused research on terrorism, which is embedded in a social and cultural history of internal security. In an overview of the results of previous research, significant deficits of both society- and individual-focused research on terrorism - conducted on a social science-, as well as a political science-level - are listed and worthwhile fields for future studies are sketched out. The author thereby emphasises how essential it is, to turn away from the previously dominant bi-polar perspective, which presents the concepts of the State and terrorism of the 1970s in rigid opposition. The essay makes clear that "the State" needs to be re-conceptualised, above all historicised, whereby the practice of state power needs to be understood as decentralised, as an arena of social conflicts. Fundamentally, with regard to the 1970s, the possibilities of social resistance are explored and the people themselves, as active designers of their own fate, as individual and collective actors, are thus more closely regarded. It is emphasised that state power fundamentally changed in the 1970s, that it was less static and abstract and instead more focused on everyday-life. A politicised society developed, without clear centres of power - neither in society, nor in politics and the state. The author is strongly opposed to viewing the late 1970s as a period, in which an all-powerful state weighed heavily on an impotent society. Rather, he shows how, since the end of the decade, terrorism and the efforts to fight it encouraged critical attitudes towards the state and society, as well as a healthy scepticism about computer-assisted data collections. These democratising impulses developed against the background of a boom of social self-organisation in the form of the New Social Movements.


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