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HSR Supplement 28: Zeitgeschichte zwischen Politik, Biografie und Methodik

Gerhard Botz: Zeitgeschichte zwischen Politik, Biografie und Methodik: Gewalt und Nationalsozialismus in Österreich im 20. Jahrhundert

In this bilingual HSR Supplement, Gerhard Botz, important proponent of the "Historical Social Sciences" reflects the developments of science history, particularly the Austrian way  of contemporay history.

In the first part of this issue, Botz outlines his scholarly autobiography in its interrelationship with and against main developments in Austrian politics and historiographic trends. However, he does not want to present a coherent narrative about his career from social and scholarly peripheries close to the centres of historical and social scientific research. The unfolding of his scientific profile is compounded of different puzzles like memory-based descriptions, historic analyses of the contemporary political contexts, and his live story interviews. As an historian the author tries to integrate social science and cultural history methods and theories into his main professional grounding which is focussed thematically on Austria's history since the end of the First World War, particularly on the disastrous effects of violence and the Nazi dictatorship.He presents his main findings and the methodical practices along three fields of long term interest and projects: political violence and social conflict during the Inter-War period in Austria, the functioning and social consequences of national socialist rule on the example of Vienna, and the social composition and motivations of the NSDAP membership. In doing so he allows also insights into every-day work, obstacles and gains of historical research applying a mulitude of methods, including also quantification and oral history. These insights were gained in close connection with several leading scholars of QUANTUM and the Centre of Historical Social Research in Cologne. These efforts motivated Gerhard Botz to organize the Salzburg Summer Schools on New Methods in History and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Social Science History (now at the University of Vienna).

The 11 articles presented in the second part of this HSR Supplement cover Botz' scientific life themes, amongst others: political violence, National Socialism, history of Jews, the balance of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Autobiographical Reflections