Vol 18 No 2 (2008)
Herausgegeben von Peter Haslinger
Russia and the Comparison between Empires
The Russian Empire usually occupies its settled place within dichotomies of East vs. West and land-based vs. continental empires. The article tries to transcend these conventional constraints. It situates the Russian empire within a broader range of neighboring cases including China, the Muslim empires and also frontier expansion in the Western hemisphere. In a comparative perspective, several features which appear to be uniquely Russian or Eastern European lose their distinctiveness. Thus, notions of Russian exceptionalism are opened for reconsideration.
die Habsburgermonarchie, das Russländische Reich und die Sowjetunion
Research on Empires in the historiography on Eastern Europe
Since the 1990s, research in East European History has been deeply influenced by the concept of empire and reinvigorated by the growing interest in the complexities of the multinational and multi-confessional character of the area. It is the goal of this contribution not only to showcase the recent scholarship on the Habsburg Monarchy, the Russian Autocracy and the Soviet Union as empires, but also to address the most interesting questions that are currently pushing the field in new directions. All three cases reveal that neither the difference between maritime and continental empires, often overemphasized in earlier scholarship, nor the distinction between seemingly “modern” (Western) and “backward” (Eastern) empires can be sustained. The peculiarities of all three empires highlight rather the central question of to what extent these cases were empires at all, and of the development of the relationship between the national and imperial traits of the various states.
The relationship between city and country in 19th and 20th century Europe – a brief sketch
While authors like Marx attached prime importance to the relationship between the city and the country many sociologists today deny that there are any meaningful distinctions left between them. The article tries to sketch the most important changes and the most important regional variations within Europe over the last two hundred years and in doing so gives special prominence to structural changes within the economy and society. Without wanting to diminish the importance of processes of industrialization for the dissolution of earlier dividing lines between the (walled) city and its surroundings the articles proposes to make use of recent work on the economics of agglomeration because such an approach has at least two advantages: It allows to identify more clearly the exceptional character of industrial towns in coal regions and to conceptualize more convincingly the conditions of growth of the many other types of cities growing rapidly in the late 19th and 20th century. This is especially true for the cities of Southern Europe where the long and widespread absence of industrialization did not prevent urban growth. Well into the 21st century the relationship between the city and the country in these regions nevertheless shows quite different features than the metropolitan regions in the northwestern parts of the continent. (The exclusion of Eastern Europe is solely due to the fact that another contribution to this volume deals with it.)
Urbanisierung und Ruralisierung im östlichen Europa
The „Socialist city“ versus the „European city“ – urbanization and ruralization in Eastern Europe
In most parts of Eastern Europe the transition from agrarian to industrial societies took place only after World War II. The process of urbanization was influenced by the socialist planning economy. Under this condition, the concept of the “socialist city” found its realization in the modern reconstruction of old historical towns and the foundation of new industrial towns. Today the image of Eastern European capitals consists of monumental centers and monotonous neighborhoods. The development, however, leading to this dichotomy was the result of a lot of contradictions. On the one side, there was a lack of civil society already before the communist seize of power. On the other side, the exodus from the countryside during the period of socialist industrialization lead to a ruralization of already existing cities. At the end the “socialist city” was able to supply its inhabitants with a minimum of dwelling. But it still required the renunciation of urbanity and autonomy.
Structural and Cultural Foundations of the Political Sphere in East Central Europe in the 20th Century
The cultural turn in political history challenges established notions of East Central Europe. Yet, a survey of recent studies shows that the concept of East Central Europe is still provides valid insights into specific traits of the regions within a European context. The article explores the national connotations of statehood since the late nineteenth century. It argues that not so much unsolved minority problems, but rather the need to develop coherent ideas of a national state and a national territory within the majority populations posed the most serious problems in establishing the new political order after 1918. The answer was to link national statehood to farreaching reform projects. The communist regimes took a similar approach in propagating socialist utopia within a national framework. Even today, discourses of national statehood, liberty and civil society reflect specific traditions of the historical experience of East Central Europe.
Der Artikel geht der Frage nach, wie weit eine „globale Erinnerung“ in unserer zunehmend vernetzten Welt vorliegt. Ausgehend von einer weltweit durchgeführten mehrsprachigen Online-Umfrage (N=5500), versuchen wir herauszufinden, ob Menschen aus verschiedenen Teilen der Welt ähnliche historische Ereignisse als wichtig einschätzen. Befragte wurden gebeten, die drei wichtigsten politischen Ereignisse der letzten 100 Jahre und seit 2000, sowie das früheste politische Ereignis, an das sie sich erinnern können, zu nennen. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass einige wenige historische Ereignisse von vielen Teilnehmenden aus aller Welt als wichtig erachtet werden. Dieser Übereinstimmung sind allerdings Grenzen gesetzt: die Erinnerung an verschiedene Weltregionen folgt einem Muster von Zentrum / Peripherie. Zudem gibt es deutliche Unterschiede hinsichtlich der Disposition ausländischer Ereignisse zu benennen.