Conchita vs. Gabalier. From the “Island of the Blessed” to illiberal democracy? Austria between tradition and modernity. A Heimat-Evening



13.10., 19:00


National identity defines itself through territory, which in turn can be perceived as a body, says linguist Ruth Wodak. So what does this so-called national body look like in Austria? There are two different versions of this projection, and they are diametrically opposed to one another. On the one hand, there is Conchita, the Austrian Eurovision song-contest winner with a beard, on the other is the Volks-rock’n’roller Andreas Gabalier. Extroverted openness and liberality face off against equally extroverted invocations of Heimat and tradition, both of them fictional to a major degree. Austria is going through a period of massive political, social, psychological, and medial change. A new nationalism is on the rise, and “hybrid populist thinking” (Paul Sailer-Wlasits) has become just as acceptable as the insistence to keep foreigners out, the tone against migrants becoming increasingly harsh. Traditional Austrian leather pants are back in style, and the German right looks to Austria as a role model. Where is the alpine republic headed? Is it on its way to an illiberal democracy, aided by nostalgia for local custom?

Prologue: Gabriela Hiti reads from the lyrics of songs by local interpreters

Participants of the roundtable discussion, moderated by Colette M. Schmidt: Olga Flor, Gerald Grosz, Monika Primas, Markus Rheindorf, Kathrin Stainer-Hämmerle, Gerhild Steinbuch

Interruption:  Nina Höchtl, Kate Strain, and Julia Wieger present the findings of the research project Department of Ultimology

Musical epilogue: Politdisko by and with Ed. Hauswirth (to be continued at herbstbar)

Screening: Windelpracht, Markus Wilfling, 2018, Austria, color, sound, 6 min. (loop)

Concept: Martin Behr