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Memoria e Ricerca

Political Communication and New Constitutional History – the Example of the Habsburg Monarchy in the 19th century

di Brigitte Mazohl
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 35 (2010), p. 63

The article provides a short historiographical overview of the changes in constitutional history in Austria, starting with the history of institutions, via structural history approaches, to the “New Constitutional History” in the context of the “Cultural History of the Political”, “New Intellectual History” and the research area “Political Communication”. Viewed in this context, political language today receives considerably more attention than previously within the traditional history of constitutions. The main section outlines the complex development of the Habsburg monarchy from a (neo)absolutist to a modern constitutional state during the 19th century. This development proved to be an exceptionally complex challenge due to the standard European model of an ethnically homogenous constitutional state, clashing with the multi-ethnic reality of the monarchy. The diversity of the historical rights of each country (Länder) hampered this endeavour even more. Thus, regarding the “political language” used at the time, initially one had to clarify which “peoples” and “nationalities” demanded which “rights” in which “state”/”country” of the monarchy.