Beiträge zur Kulturforschung


105. Volume, 1/2009

Walter Kuhn (1903–1983) und der Bielitzer „Wandervogel e. V.“
Historisch-volkskundliche „Sprachinselforschung“ zwischen völkischem Pathos und politischer Indienstnahme

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Alexander Pinwinkler


This study reconstructs the rise of a group of „local historians“ in Bielitz around the folklorist and historian Walter Kuhn. It reconstructs discursive and institutional conditions that facilitated the implementation of the nationalistic „linguistic island“-paradigm in the Weimar Republic and in the „Third Reich“. It is shown that the „distance“ and „objectivity“ that the „local historians“ of Bielitz claimed apologetically for their research in the „Third Reich“ could be closely intertwined with the the mythologizations of „Germanity“ and with socio-technological application practices. In the 1950s Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann was the first to formulate a critique of the „biological“ concept of „linguistic islands“ which Kuhn only slightly modified after 1945. But only the sociological and cultural anthropological conceptualizations of „ethnicity“, which have been developed since the 1970s in Anglo-American contexts, provided alternatives to the discourse on „linguistic islands“ that in Germany had been significantly shaped by Kuhn and his circle.

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