|Immigration in Austrian Textbooks and Migration Exhibitions - Representations and Memory (Re)Production|
|This presentation explores which narratives about the Austrian post war immigration have been produced and reproduced and in which ways “immigrants” have been depicted and positioned. The contribution is based on the empirical analysis of Austrian geography and history textbooks which have been used in upper secondary education for the last forty years on the one hand and an investigation of the two major migration exhibitions on display in Austria during the last five to ten years.
The following questions will be addressed by the paper:
• How is the history of immigration collectively remembered and represented in textbooks and migration exhibitions in Austria (and also compared to other Western European countries)? How are “immigrants” depicted in the narratives? Are they (discursively) constructed as part of the national or European self, or as the outsiders/the Others? Did these representations change over time?
I am dealing with two very different sources in this presentation, different in various aspects. Let me highlight only one which is important in connection with memory (re)production. School textbooks (re)produce socially accepted knowledge (representational knowledge) and can be interpreted as manifestations of the institutionalized and public memory of a country, whereas the analysed migration exhibitions can better be understood as an endeavour to deconstruct the cultural memory with regard to immigration, to challenge official politics of history, and to establish counter narratives that are at least partly based on the communicative memories of immigrants themselves.
The presentation will firstly give an overview on the most important findings from the textbook analysis, will then summarize the results from the investigation of the exhibitions and end by looking for similarities and differences in the representations of immigration in the two different social spheres culture and education as represented in textbooks and exhibitions.