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Austrian Lives

Günter Bischof
Fritz Plasser
Eva Maltschnig

Political lives

Otto Bauer (1881-1938)

Politician and Public Intellectual

Ernst Hanisch

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The Return of Biography

During the rise of structural and social history in the 1960s, scholars in German-speaking countries threw biography into the junk pile. Unlike their Anglo-Saxon colleagues, researchers could not boost their reputations as scholars by publishing biographies. The end of the 20th century brought a change, and biography advanced to become the “secret center” of cultural studies.2 But this was not the old type of biography. Much of it derived inspiration from the ideas of post-structuralism and the “linguistic turn,” at least in some form. Pierre Bourdieu’s warning of the “biographical illusion” graced almost every introduction; the term implies that it is not possible to recreate a simple identity of a biological individual, who played a variety of different roles, without analyzing the relationship between these roles.3

In the case of the adult Otto Bauer, we are talking about the following social roles: author, teacher in a workers’ school, secretary of the Soci...


© innsbruck university press, 2012

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