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Carinthia, interculturalism, and Austrian national identity : cultural reflections on 10 October 1920.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date04/2005
JournalGerman Life and Letters
Journal number2
Volume58
Number of pages16
Pages195-210
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The history of Slovene-Carinthian relations in the twentieth century has been extremely fraught, with Carinthia continuing to be a region of Austria in which nationalist sentiment is openly expressed and where Austrians' political and cultural anxiety towards their neighbours and former imperial partners is much more than a superficial or suppressed attitude. The 'Abwehrkampf' of 1918–19 and the subsequent plebiscite of 10 October 1920 allowing the Carinthian people to decide whether their territory should join the state of Yugoslavia or remain in Austria is a major historical referent in the cultural and political life of Carinthia, and the date is celebrated annually. The paper demonstrates that 10 October 1920 continues to function as part of the 'narrative' (Stuart Hall) of Carinthia's regional and Austria's national identity and examines some of the ways in which it has been mobilised to political effect. In analysing the continuing endurance of the 10 October celebrations, the discussion focuses on a number of cultural responses which provide a strong critique of the predominant nationalist use of the plebiscite and offer literary impetus for a more tolerant and productive intercultural exchange in Carinthia.