Contemporary History as Pre-history of the Present: Analysing the Austrian Media Discourse about Investment Opportunities in the East
University of Vienna, Department of Economic and Social History
In its first part the essay reflects about the concept and practice of contemporary history. Taking the transformation of Europe since 1989 as a starting point it finally advocates a genealogical reconstruction of the past as pre-history of the present. In its second, empirical part the essay discusses examples from print media that belong to a discourse about Austrian companies ‘going East’. The analysis focuses on images that without providing numbers nor technical arguments suggested investments in the former socialist countries as a huge opportunity. It discerns two narratives built on these images: the return of the Habsburg Monarchy and Western (Austrian) companies as conquerors of the East. The essay thus contributes to a critical media history of the transformation of Central Europe.
Keywords: business magazines, discourse analysis, transformation, Central Eastern Europe