Keywords:propaganda, socialism, cultural history of the GDR, history of knowledge of the GDR, overview of GDR magazines, research prospects for GDR magazine research, GDR media landscape, Wochenpost, NBI, periodical studies methodology
To this day, GDR magazines have hardly been found worthy of a closer analytical look. As the present essay will argue, they have been treated primarily as containers for propaganda. In the introduction to this special issue on GDR magazines, the authors discuss why this has been the case so far and why GDR magazines in particular would be worth an examination. The preface pleads for a conscious and more differentiated approach to the history and the cultural relevance of a central media format of the GDR: its magazines. Periodical and magazine studies deal mostly with magazines from Western capitalist societies. GDR magazines, however, originated in a completely different environment. The authors explain why, when exploring these objects, long-established and proven methods of periodical research must always be questioned first. To complement this, the introduction draws on a number of exemplary short analyses in an attempt to make initial suggestions of dealing academically with GDR magazines. Based on these observations, theses are developed and presented on what could distinguish GDR magazines or what might be the focus of future GDR magazine research. And finally, the essay will feature selected GDR magazines as well as insights from the workshop that gave birth to this special issue.
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