What is it about?

In this article we explore the concept of communicative memory of modern East Germans in contemporary hip-hop lyrics. Our study reveals that even after more than twenty years of existing in a reunified German Republic, former and contemporary East Germans (i.e. Ossis) are still longing for a sense of social and political identity in a new system foreign in most respects to their previous socialist existence.

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Why is it important?

The article highlights the power of hip hop music as a means of cultural resistance and social critique, particularly in contexts where official histories and identities may be contested or suppressed. The article draws attention to the importance of communicative memory, or the collective understanding of the past that is shaped by ongoing dialogue and exchange, in the construction of cultural identity. The article offers valuable insights into the ways in which music and popular culture can contribute to broader social and political discussions, and how they can be used to challenge and reshape dominant narratives of history and identity. It provides a compelling example of the ongoing legacy of German reunification and the challenges and opportunities that it presents for cultural expression and exchange.


I enjoyed working with my co-author Mike Putnam.

Juliane Schicker
Carleton College

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This page is a summary of: Straight outta Marzahn: (Re)Constructing Communicative Memory in East Germany through Hip Hop, Popular Music & Society, December 2012, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/03007766.2012.726040.
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