National Socialism and the History of Sociology in Austria

Friday, 20 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Andreas KRANEBITTER, University of Vienna, Austria
Christoph REINPRECHT, University of Vienna, Austria
Recently, the relationship of Sociology and National Socialism has been intensely debated in Germany again. The debate concerns both the “contaminated” roots of German post-war sociology and the potentials of current sociology to contribute to the research of National Socialism. In Austria, this debate has not been held yet in detail. Our hypothesis is that the institutionalization of sociology in Austria, which was taking place within a framework of conservative science policies in an overall corporatist political system, depended on the covering of political cleavages by an application-oriented research and a lasting expulsion of sociology’s critical dimension during the years of 1934 to 1945. In our presentation, we try to answer the following questions, drawing conclusions from an „inventory“ of contributions of research on the topic published by the authors in a forthcoming anthology: Was there sociological research during 1938 to 1945 in Austria, and which differences, if any, are to be observed between Austria and Germany? What are the epistemological and institutional reasons for the observable “de-thematization” of National Socialism by Austrian post-war sociologists during the phase of the institutionalization of sociology in Austria? In which way is this development connected to the Cold War, in which ways is it comparable to “contaminations” in other countries? How can we conceptualize the relationship between internal disciplinary factors and external social developments? And finally, in which way does this de-thematization shape the state of current sociology in Austria?

The presentation will draw conclusions from an anthology on the topic edited by the two authors of this abstract. The anthology, to be published in May 2018, is the result of a three-year-project on „Sociology and National Socialism in Austria“.