Analysing health education films from the German Democratic Republic broadcast on TV during the 1970s and 1980s, this paper explores how emotions were framed as health risks and how this framing corresponded with socialist ideas on communication and media theory. I argue that television offered an ideal medium for updating traditions of social hygiene and that it served as a means to the socialist concept of “emotional education”. Television and public health met in highlighting socialist ideas on social interaction: health education aimed at cultivating trust to reduce organic diseases. At the same time, creating trust and intimacy was one of the main promises of the new medium, a function bolstered by its location in the home. To achieve these, they turned to the emotional effects of the spoken word.

German Democratic Republic (GDR), East Germany, emotion, health education, risk factor, social hygiene, communication
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
dx.doi.org/10.18146/view.222
VIEW Journal
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture; Vol 9, No 18 (2020); 97 - 111

Schnädelbach, Sandra. (2020). Bad Vibes: Images of Communication, Emotional Balance and Health in East German Television, 1970s-1980s. VIEW Journal, 9(18), 97–111. doi:10.18146/view.222