Konrad J. Kuhn

Networks, Identity Politics and a Narrative of Distinction

On the History of Knowledge of the Relations between the „Volkish“ and the Swiss Folklore Studies (‚Volkskunde’)

Shortlink: https://www.waxmann.com/artikelART102172

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Abstract

In the existing narratives on the relationship between folklore studies (‚Volkskunde’) and National Socialism, folklore studies in Switzerland are considered to have played the role of a „good“ discipline. A discipline which is sharply distinguished from „Volkish“ folklore studies and which, as a „neutral science“, had enabled the entire German-speaking discipline to continue to work after the war. This narrative fails to recognize the possibilities offered by National Socialism to a young discipline and overlooks the close relations between Swiss folklorists and Nazi folklorists. Using the example of the network of Richard Wolfram, it is shown how intrinsic scientific presuppositions, thematic affinities and theoretical concepts led to the fact that especially „neutral Switzerland“ played an important role in the revival and „rehabilitation“ of representatives of „Volkish“ folklore studies.

Keywords
Nazi past, history of knowledge, European scientific relations, revival, „rehabilitation“, transformations, networks, 1930-1970