Empire and identity. Biographies of Austrian identity in an age of imperial dissolution.

Fredrik Lindström

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This study deals with the problem of Austrian identity in the late Habsburg empire. The investigation departs from an understanding of this problem as situated in the juncture between the historical Austrian imperial experience and the process of modern Austrian identity formation. The Austrian identity is thus approached as the identity problem of the old German-Austrian center of the empire, as the problem of conceptualizing a modern Austrian identity on the basis of the Central European empire ruled from Vienna. The investigation works with a series of biographical studies in order to achieve a deeper understanding of this problem. The resulting "biographies of Austrian identity" can also be viewed as "identity biographies" of the examined individuals. In part they delve into the problem of Austrian identity as an existential problem for these individuals. The three studies which constitutes this investigation are dual biographies, with one main character and one secondary character. The purpose of the approach of dual biography is to highlight a field of tension in the problem of Austrian identity. The three studies are each built around one way to conceptualize the Austrian identity. The first study deals with the problem of the Austrian state through the dual biography of imperial civil servant and minister Ernest von Koerber and the German national and Liberal historian Heinrich Friedjung. The second study deals with the problem of Austrian culture through the dual biography of the poet and dramatist Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the poet and career diplomat Leopold von Andrian. The third and last study deals with the problem of the Austrian people(s) through the dual biography of the historian, constitutional lawyer and Liberal parliamentarian Josef Redlich and the political theorist and Social Democratic politician Karl Renner. Together all these biographical studies draw the outline of an Austrian identity landscape in the late imperial phase of formation of the modern Austrian identity. In the conclusion this identity landscape is also discussed briefly in terms of the debate on the modern Austrian identity.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • History
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 May 25
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2002-05-25
Time: 10:15
Place: Room 3, Department of History

External reviewer(s)

Name: Hammarlund, Anders
Title: Dr
Affiliation: Department of East European studies, University of Uppsala


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History

Free keywords

  • Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914)
  • Friedrich Naumann
  • Mitteleuropa
  • Karl Renner
  • Leopold von Andrian
  • Heinrich Friedjung
  • Josef Redlich
  • Hugo von Hofmannsthal
  • Ernest von Koerber
  • biography
  • Habsburg empire
  • Austrian identity
  • Modern historia (ca. 1800-1914)
  • Contemporary history (since 1914)
  • Nutidshistoria (från 1914)


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