Political Economy and Political Clientelism in the Agricultural and Industrial Region South of Leipzig

Political Economy and Political Clientelism in the Agricultural and Industrial Region South of Leipzig

Housing and Public Utilities

The housing situation, which was often characterized by shortages in the socialist era, was especially critical in the Southern Region of Leipzig, where industrial workers, agricultural workers, and displaced villagers had to be provided for. The response to the rising demand for housing was the construction of large-scale apartment complexes, which took the form of public housing, workers' housing cooperatives, or replacement housing that was financed by the state coal mining conglomerate.

The village of Breunsdorf was torn down in 1995 in the wake of an expanding surface mine. These two photographs show one of the farm houses before and during its devastation.

In the villages, those who still occupied private farm houses typically had to sell privately produced products in order to earn enough money to maintain their homes and barns. The options and strategies for securing adequate housing will be reconstructed using the methods of oral history. After 1990 the field site was subject to massive programs for the modernization of housing, transportation and communication infrastructures, and public utilities. These have resulted in a higher standard of living but also in conflicts over the distribution of costs among consumers. Finally, special attention will be paid to rented gardens, which are located in separate complexes on the outskirts of residential areas. These gardens typically provide recreation and supplemental foodstuffs for households.

Practicing Citizenship

The political entitlements that are summarized with the term "citizenship" may be understood both as varieties of property relations and as preconditions for participation in decisions affecting other kinds of property relations. In this portion of the study, the focus is on activities of residents in their capacity as participants in local government (as voters, party members, elected officials, representatives, or administrators) and in the local public sphere (either as individuals or as members of civic organizations).

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