Symbolic dropout, as exemplified in the youth “scenes” in East Berlin, was a form of resistance to the officially imposed unity-ideology. Repression by the state endowed these essentially apolitical lifestyles with political meaning, as well as with a subjective sense of power (especially when their protest seemed to contribute to the collapse of the system). The various groups reacted differently to the fall of the Berlin Wall, some dissolving, others defining themselves in explicitly left-right terms against competing youth groups, still others turning to violence against asylum seekers.

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