This article uses the concept of ‘scale’ to analyse the relative importance of local, national and global places, events, and explanatory frameworks in everyday lives in late communism. It uses a case study of lesbians and gay men living in East Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s, and asks how these groups negotiated the restrictions of life under state socialism. It argues that both individuals and groups used scale in two ways: as an imaginative tool for making sense of the world, and as a political strategy for dealing with the state. In both cases, ‘scaling’, or choosing the scale at which one located oneself and one’s actions, was a means of disrupting and even contesting the rigid hierarchies of state socialist rule.
- East Germany