Workshop-Leader: Lisbeth Matzer (Graz), Emilia Reynold (Marburg)

Political myths both are and have been important ingredients to political decision-making processes or valuable sources for the legitimisation of political actions. They are able to rally a group of people behind what is believed to be a common cause and therefore are important factors when it comes to mobilizing masses. Their nature ranges from the Austrian victims doctrine to ‘common’ narratives of nation-building, the fierce (mis-)belief in a constructed hierarchy of races or even to the mythical use of Europe’s History as a guardian of Human Rights.
This workshop deals with political myths form different perspectives and tries to work out a common conclusion on the following questions:

  • What is a political myth and what kind of examples have the participants come across?
  • How political myths are diffused and by what means (literature, movies, school, celebrations…)?
  • What are they being used for and who are the agents profiting from them?
  • When do political myths occur and in what contexts?
  • What kind of ‘reality’ and facts are these myths based on?

These questions shall be discussed based on a general introduction by the workshop leaders followed by short (!) case studies chosen, prepared and presented by the participants. A common analysis on one (secret) example in group work will help to find (or not) a common conclusion and will lead to a summary of the workshops findings.