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The Doctoral College understands itself as part of comparative historical and social science dictatorship and transformation research with a European focus on “small” dictatorships and experiences with dictatorships especially in the interwar period. At its centre is the comparative analysis of, firstly, the causes for the establishment and functioning of dictatorships in several Central- and East-European states after the wave of democratisation resulting from the First World War, as well as, secondly, the engagement with the resulting political and socio-cultural models and their social consequences after the end of the regimes concerned.

Which transnational similarities and even transfers, derived from which (pre-) conditions, can be identified and described? Which country-specific fragmentations thereby become visible and how can they be explained? It is attempted to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to these questions from a historical, social, cultural and political science perspective, with a cultural and economic background. This is based on an intensive engagement with the theoretical frame developed around the models of authoritarianism and totalitarianism and close connections with the current international scholarly discourse not just limited to the “great” dictatorships in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union and is based on extensive empirical research on elaborated transdisciplinary theoretical ground.

The central goal is a European comparative study, which first of all encompasses the interwar period and, in a second part, developments after 1945 – both within the area of communist rulership as well as in Portugal, Spain, and Greece.

Vienna Doctoral College for "European Historical Dictatorship and Transformation Research"
University of Vienna

Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 1
A-1090 Vienna
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0