Competing Ideologies, Competing Semiotics: A Critical Perspective on Politically-driven Renaming Practices in Annaberg-Buchholz, Eastern Germany

Eastern Europe offers an unparalleled case study for transformations in
representational politics as a result of changes in state-ideology. Having established their first democracies after WWI, these states were occupied and / or governed by Nazi Germany until the end of WWII. Post-1945, the USSR-aligned countries were ruled by communist / socialist regimes until the end of the Cold War brought parliamentary democracy to most Eastern European countries. Unsurprisingly, the rapid succession of changes in state ideology has left its mark on the commemorative semiotics of these nations. Our article explores the “relations of power, language ideologies and [users’] views of their own and other’s identities” (Pavlenko / Blackledge 2004: 1–2) in Eastern Germany. Our interdisciplinary approach relies on spatiotemporal analysis and advanced visualisation techniques as input for ethnographic interviews, as well as on critical discourse analysis of the mass media in order to capture the complex processes underlying ideologically-driven changes in commemorative street naming. This combined approach allows us to explore the “connection between power relations, public memory, identity formation and commemorative” naming (Azaryahu 2012: 388). More specifically, we focus on the debates and discourses that surround the consecutive waves of semiotic erasure and reinstatement.


Citation style:
Could not load citation form.


License Holder:

© Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften Berlin 2021

Use and reproduction:
All rights reserved