Identity describes all the characteristics and features that individuals or groups see as significant for how they see themselves, and in turn, how they, in their own view, distinguish themselves or their group from others. What are the characteristics that a person or group attributes to themselves, thereby distinguishing themselves from others? The question of Carinthian identity on a national level, but also of affiliations with linguistic, political or other groups, has repeatedly been the starting point for political, economic, cultural and social disputes during the course of the 20th century. The question of who is a “true Carinthian” is just as much an issue as that of the development of particular identity constructs with the potential to both include and exclude. Which idiosyncrasies contribute to forming your own identity, to what extent does the perception of yourself correspond with how you are perceived by others? In which areas are such identity formations important for individual personal development, and where do they obstruct or exclude?
Discussions include the questions of identity and differentiation, identity formation, self-perception and how we are perceived by others, the development of a memorial landscape and remembrance culture in Carinthia, as well as (still current) common narratives and myths. The focus is on past and present developments, as well as thoughts on further perspectives concerning identity, remembrance culture and narratives in Carinthia.
The geopolitical position of Carinthia has always had, and still has, a great impact on all aspects of life. To this day, the development of the region and its inhabitants is significantly defined by life at and with national, linguistic and cultural borders. On the one hand, borders separate, but on the other hand they become areas where people come together. Many conflicts have arisen from this complex, tense relationship (nationalism, World War I, the language dispute, expulsions, deportations, displacements, the partisan war, border issues, ethnic minority conflicts, etc.), as well as productive encounters and scenes of material and immaterial exchange (trade, innovation, art and culture, etc.).
The forms and intensity of dialogue, networking and exchange between neighbours within Carinthia and beyond the country’s borders are dealt with. Past and present developments are the focus, as well as reflections on further perspectives for dialogue within Carinthia and further afield.
Over the course of the 20th century, voluntary and involuntary migration in very different forms has characterised the history of the region. People have changed their location due to a variety of what are known as push or pull factors, such as economic conditions (better pay, career prospects), environmental prospects (deterioration or loss of livelihood, e.g. through drought or natural disasters), safety factors (wars, civil wars, politically instable conditions) or cultural factors (education, culture, relocation in youth or old age). Work migration (economically motivated), refugee migration (ideological, politically motivated, consequences of war), as well as family reunion, play just as big a role as illegal migration due to human smuggling and human trafficking. The range in Carinthia includes refugees from and following World War I to the expulsion of Slovenian-speaking Carinthians after the plebiscite in 1920, emigration during the interwar period, the expulsion and murdering of people during the NS era, flight, expulsion or deportation due to the turmoils of war, the refugees who came to Carinthia as a result of World War II, economically motivated emigration and immigration, and refugees during the wars in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s as well as the wave of refugees in 2015 and 2016.
Various historical migration processes that have taken place in Carinthia are illustrated. The central questions are: Who comes? Who goes? Who stays? And why? The focus is on past and present developments as well as thoughts on perspectives of coming to, remaining in and leaving Carinthia.
Democracy development is more than party political history or the development of specific (party) political representation and depiction of power relations in Carinthia. Moreover, topics such as free elections, direct democracy, majority and minority rights, opportunities to oppose, questions of division of power, the handling of civil rights, freedom of expression, etc. in Carinthia must be highlighted. The focus is on representation, and the question of who is represented and who is not. Following the introduction of a general, free and equal voting right for men and women in 1918 and the Carinthian Plebiscite in 1920 as an act of direct participation in political activities, Carinthia also experienced the restriction and undermining of democratic rights in the 1930s, and finally, the establishment of a National Socialist dictatorship in 1938. The postwar period was initially characterised by the effects of the British occupying force, later by a domination by the SPÖ (Social Democratic Party of Austria) until the end of the 1980s and, following that, by changing majorities in political representation.
Questions are raised on the development of democracy in Carinthia, the political participation and the development of civil society. The focus is on past and present developments as well as thoughts on further perspectives concerning democracy, the representation and importance of (civil) societal participation of the population in Carinthia.
The economic situation in Carinthia after the end of World War I was determined by the aftermath of the war and by the decline in the coal and steel industries which had already begun in the 19th century. The collapse of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918 aggravated the economic situation. Characterised by infrastructural remoteness due to the new demarcation, predominantly weak industrialisation and an economy determined by small businesses and small farms, Carinthia was affected by high unemployment in the interwar period. The aftermath of World War II initially aggravated the economic crisis. From the 1950s the region experienced an upturn, with tourism, the building industry, timber industry and chemical industry acting as the driving forces. Despite restructuring and the development of infrastructure, the Carinthian economy still lags behind the other Austrian provinces to this day. In some sectors, however, some noticeable catch-up processes are now apparent.