Lecture by Christian Karner

Of songbooks, philosophers, 'lone wolves' and revolutions: (Unacknowledged or distorted) romantic topoi in Austrian nationalism today

Christian Karner
Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham

When: November 8, 2018, 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Where: International Center, seminar Room 112


The influence of the (early) romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries on the then-emerging nationalisms has often been noted. We also know of important, direct and mediated connections between German romanticism and Austria during the 19th century. Much less is known about the current resonance of romantic thought, ideas and claims in Austrian nationalism.

This is surprising, as some of nationalism’s organizational vehicles and chief discursive formations explicitly acknowledge their ideological ‘roots’ in romanticism. This paper traces the longue durée connections between romantic tropes, topoi and ontological assumptions and prominent political discourses in Austria today.

The analysis of specific textual materials and of relevant political statements offered here focuses on both what is being re-appropriated and how such ideational strands are being selectively re-written and, at times, distorted in Austrian public debate today. To conceptualize such processes of ongoing ideological work, I draw and build on recent work (Karner and Kazmierczak 2017) on the ‘palimpsests of the romantic’.

Dr. Christian Karner is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham. He has previously been a Leverhulme Research Fellow, a Visiting Researcher at the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota, at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (Athens, Greece), and he has teaching- and research connections with Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland).

Karner’s books include Ethnicity and Everyday Life (2007), Negotiating National Identities (2011) and his most recent co-edited collections were The Commonalities of Global Crises (2016), National Identity and Europe in Times of Crisis (2017), and (Kon-)texte des Politischen (2018). His next monograph – entitled Nationalism Revisited: Social Closure in Central Europe from Romanticism to the Digital Age – will be published by Berghahn Books.