Issue 1/2020, 5. Volume Page 77–101
Continuities of thinking, Austrification and critique of modernization
Adolf Helbok and folklore studies in Austria after 1945
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Using the example of folklorist and historian Adolf Helbok (1883–1968), a leading representative of racial-biological folklore research during National Socialism, this article shows how he and his work fit into Austrian folklore studies after 1945. It illustrates the persistence of epistemological perspectives and the simultaneous conceptual adaptations that were made, for instance, by orienting his “genius research” towards a new national ideology of Austria and, thereby, making these stocks of knowledge available. Despite his distance from the University of Innsbruck, Helbok was also part of a folklorist Austrian milieu which gathered primarily in the work for the Austrian Folklore Atlas. Until the 1960s, folklore studies in Austria was, thus, characterized in many ways by continuities of ethnic thinking which manifested in ‘Austrified’ knowledge formats and associated with a conservative, culturally pessimistic critique of modernization.
history of knowledge, folklore studies, racial-biological research, Nazi past, folklorist milieu, Austria, 1945–1965