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Political EpistemicsThe Secret Police, the Opposition, and the End of East German Socialism$
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Andreas Glaeser

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226297934

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226297958.001.0001

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Attempting to Know and Control the Opposition

Attempting to Know and Control the Opposition

(p.465) 9 Attempting to Know and Control the Opposition
Political Epistemics

Andreas Glaeser

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes and analyzes the means used by the secret police to control the formation of dissident groups and their activities in socialist East Germany. It interprets these efforts of the Stasi as a particular form of politics undertaken with the intention to prevent, hinder, or undo the formation of party-critical institutions. These efforts were oriented and directed by the party state's political understandings about how dissident activities come about. This chapter is devoted to the exploration of “PID/PUT/'opposition'” theory and its institutionalization in rules and regulations as well as in actual practices. It shows how this theory acquired credibility among party officials and Stasi officers within the international context in which it was developed and the first cases to which it was applied. Analyzing the relationship between the Stasi's guidance officers and their informants leads to the question of how socialism produces knowledge about itself and how this knowledge informs actions to maintain its institutional order, that is, in the language of political epistemology, to engage in self-politics.

Keywords:   Stasi, PID/PUT/opposition theory, guidance officers, self-politics, institutionalization

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