Sociology in Austria: Introduction
The development of sociology in Austria has been influenced by political changes more than once during the 20th Century. After the breakup of the Habsburg Empire, a tiny successor state had to struggle to survive, and government did not spend much attention to academic affairs. Two consecutive dictatorships destroyed academic freedom and brought with them forced migration and imprisonment. Favoritism and conformism became characteristic patterns in the higher education system. After 1945 the reestablished Second Republic did not try to dismiss professors promoted during the dictatorship and did not invite exiled academics back home. The consequence was the continuation of behavioral patterns in academia established earlier: Austria’s postwar academic world was not governed by meritocratic criteria but the effect of a ‘dynamic adaptation’ to new political regimes. Following an institutionalist point of view one had to take into account such discontinuities and pay tribute to episodes of de-institutionalization.
KeywordsAustria conformism de-nazification governance institutionalization Nazism universities
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