Austria in the European Context
The project “Transformations of Social Memory. Austria in the European Context” analyses the changes undergone by Austrian memory in the 20th and early 21st centuries. The memory of World War I, the Ständestaat dictatorship and, above all, “difficult” memory with regard to National Socialism, World War II and the Holocaust are looked at from 1945 to the present within a transnational and European context. Research focuses both on the negotiations and controversies involved in interpreting the past and on the cultural and media representations of the dominant hegemonic interpretation at a particular time. The analysis covers a broad range of symbolic representations – from the discourse used to negotiate and assign meaning in different social fields (parliamentary debates, the press etc.) to material representations such as monuments, memorial sites and museums to popular media formats such as TV documentaries and films. Memory here is understood as a dynamic category, one which is constantly being redefined and updated through an open-ended process not only of appropriation (cultural heritage) and change (invention of tradition), but also of rejection and re-interpretation.