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Austria in Transit: Displacement and the Nation-State

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

Aine McMurtry (Editor), Deborah Holmes

Original languageEnglish
PublisherModern Humanities Research Association
Number of pages310
ISBN (Print)9781781886021
Accepted/In press2 Jan 2019
E-pub ahead of print29 Mar 2019
Published31 Mar 2019

Publication series

NameAustrian Studies
PublisherModern Humanities Research Association
ISSN (Print)1350-7532

King's Authors


Situated between two major refugee routes, Austria has formed a key European transit state in recent years, culminating in late 2015 when 600,000 people passed through the country in just four months. Ever since, the Austrian government has sought to push its anti-immigration agenda on the international scene, most recently during its presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2018. Almost twenty years after the first coalition between the conservative Austrian People’s Party and the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party in early 2000, Austrian Studies 26 builds on Cultural Studies research on how writers, artists and intellectuals responded to the political shift to the right during the 1990s and 2000s to discuss the contemporary moment. The volume’s seventeen interdisciplinary contributions examine cultural responses to forced migration and mass displacement from literary, filmic, musical and photographic perspectives. They document and analyse attempts to find artistic forms for traumatic histories and losses that defy representation, as well as to devise means of testimony which render visible people and experiences all too often excluded from the historical record. The possibilities, as well as the limitations, of the arts in communicating geopolitical persecution and transit are discussed. In a deeply hostile climate, the volume assesses Austria’s place in a Europe caught between loudly proclaimed humanitarian tradition and the ever-increasing drive to protect its borders.

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