Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of History Fellows Prof. Dr. Thomas Lindenberger

Prof. Dr. Thomas Lindenberger

ZZF Potsdam
Guest Fellow

Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
School of History


Born 1955; 1981 M.A. in History and Philosophy at the Free University of Berlin; 1981-1983 History Workshop organizer, Berlin; 1984-1991 Research Assistant/Assistant Prof, FU Berlin; 1991 Co-founder and member of the editor’s group of the journal WerkstattGeschichte; 1992 PhD in History at the TU Berlin, since 1993 researcher at Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam; 1993 DAAD Visiting Professor at Connecticut College, New London/CT; 12/1995, 12/1997 professeur invite Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris; 2002 habilitation in Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Potsdam; since 2008 adjunct Professor at Unviersity of Potsdam; since 2008 Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi records (BStU); 2009-2012 director of Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for European History and Public Spheres; Member of the international editorial board of Genèses and Critique internationale


PUBLICATIONS (10 selected)

  • (Ed.) Cold War Cultures. Perspectives on Eastern and Western European Societies, Berghahn: New York/Oxford 2012, 396 p.  (with Marcus Payk, Annette Vowinckel).
  • ‘The Fragmented Society. "Societal Activism” and Authority in GDR State Socialism’, in: zeitgeschichte 37 (2010) 1, pp. 3-20. [Spanish translation in; ayer. Revista de Historia Contemporanéa 82 (2011) 2, 25-54.]
  • Grenzregime und Gesellschaftskonstruktion im SED-Staat, in: Klaus-Dietmar Henke (Hg.), Die Mauer. Errichtung, Überwindung, Erinnerung, dtv: Stuttgart 2011, pp. 111-121.
  • (Ed.) Clashes in European Memory. The Case of Communist Repression and the Holocaust, Studies in European History and Public Spheres, vol. 2, StudienVerlag: Innsbruck / Transaction Publishers: New Brunswick, N.J. 2011, (with Muriel Blaive and Christian Gerbel), 294 p.
  • (Ed.) Conflicted Memories: Europeanizing Contemporary Histories, Berghahn: New York/Oxford 2007 (with Konrad H. Jarausch), 293 p.; paperback ed. 2011.
  • "Asoziale Lebensweise". Herrschaftslegitimation, Sozialdisziplinierung und die Konstruktion eines "negativen Milieus" in der SED-Diktatur, in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 32 (2005) 2, pp. 227-254.
  • Volkspolizei. Herrschaftspraxis und öffentliche Ordnung im SED-Staat, 1952-1968, Köln, Weimar, Wien: Böhlau 2003,  504 p.
  • (Ed.) Herrschaft und Eigen-Sinn in der Diktatur. Studien zur Gesellschaftsgeschichte der DDR, Köln, Weimar, Wien: Böhlau 1999, 370 p.
  • Straßenpolitik. Zur Sozialgeschichte der öffentlichen Ordnung in Berlin, 1900-1914, Bonn: Dietz 1995, 432 p.
  • (Ed.) Physische Gewalt. Studien zur Geschichte der Neuzeit, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp 1995 (together with Alf Lüdtke), 368 p.



'Volunteering’: On the genealogy of nowadays ‘civic engagement’

‘Civil Society’ has become the catch word in nowadays ideology of good governance. Within this discourse, ‘volunteerism’ has found its place as a key slogan. For instance, the European Commission has proclaimed 2011 as the “European Year of Volunteering”. The new speak of glossy government web-sites propagating all-out volunteerism makes one believe that such behavior is a rather recent phenomenon, although it has been with all political regimes and all societies throughout Europe’s turbulent history during the last two centuries, whether monarchies or republics, totalitarian dictatorships or democracy. Inspired by Marc Bloch’s idea of a ‘regressive approach’ towards historicization and departing from recent research about state socialist societies and their transition to liberal capitalism, I will set out to reconstruct some elements of the ambiguous pre-history of nowadays cult and practices of ‘volunteering’ and ‘civic engagement’.