Exercising Agency in Postwar Austria: Negotiating Citizenship

Project Researcher: Priv.-doz. Dr. Philipp Luis Strobl

The project analyses the agency of the main actors involved in the process of negotiating citizenship in postwar Austria. It identifies three major players that exercised agency to promote and further their perspectives on Austria’s citizenship laws. Besides examining the agency of the government of the Republic of Austria, and the one of the Allied administrations (including related International Organizations), I will focus also on the agency of the refugees themselves.  By doing so, I will further differ between non-German-speaking Displaced Persons (DPs) such as Jewish survivors and former forced laborers and ethnic Germans. This would be of particular interest, as the Austrian government, as well as the Allied administration made clear distinctions between (Jewish and non-German) DPs and the group of the so-called “Volksdeutsche” ethnic Germans, who were more likely to be naturalized, as described in the literature. The different treatment consequently affected the very diverse ways, groups of refugees organized themselves and consequently exercised agency.

I am particularly interested in how the above-mentioned key actors exercised agency to promote their causes. Thus, I will firstly define their aims and subsequently ask for their roles within the process of negotiating citizenship in postwar Austria. To get answers to these crucial questions, I will unearth, analyze and compare, how organizations and their leading members operated publicly, how they exercised and tried to exercise influence and how they promoted themselves in the media.

For more information about the project please contact: philipp.strobl@univie.ac.at