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Exit, Voice, and the Fate of the German Democratic Republic: An Essay in Conceptual History

  • Albert O. Hirschman (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2011

The revolutionary events of 1989 in Eastern Europe took a special shape in the German Democratic Republic: large-scale flights of citizens to the Federal Republic of Germany combined with increasingly powerful mass demonstrations in the major cities to bring down the communist regime. This conjunction of private emigration and public protest contrasts with the way these distinct responses to discontent had been previously experienced, primarily as alternatives. The forty-year history of the German Democratic Republic thus represents a particularly rich theater of operation for the concepts of “exit” and “voice,” which the author had introduced in his book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty (1970). The events of 1989 are scrutinized in some detail as they trace a more complex pattern of interaction than had been found to prevail in most previous studies.

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Pollack, “Das Ende einer Organisationsgesellschaft,” Zeitschrift für Soziologie 19 (August 1990).

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