Luca Lecis

The Construction of the Nation-State in Austria. An «Imagined Community»?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Austria; Identity; Nation-building; State-building; Second Republic.

Until the demise of the Habsburg monarchy at the end of World War I, Austria lacked a cultural national homogeneous identity, due to a polysemy presence, within the Empire, of different languages and historical heritages. Austrian political parties began reflecting upon a possible national identity only after the war and the end of the German «occupation». Their priority was to promote a constitutive process of collective memory through the development of a new Austrian belonging based on the «Opfermythos»: the emancipation from the compromising Nazi past. This changed in the 1980s, when the «Waldheim Affair» exploded and a process of revision of Austrian historical memory ensued. This historiographical essay offers a critical analysis of the self-representation of Austria as a Nation in order to investigate the politics of Austria's identity debate and the search for political legitimization.

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